Saturday, 25 May 2019

All Options Will Be Considered so Sanader Returns Illegal Gains

ZAGREB, May 25, 2019 - State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić said on Friday the state would consider every available option to seize former prime minister Ivo Sanader's illegal gains following his conviction in the Planinska corruption case.

A part of the assets is still frozen and we as the state and the State Prosecutor's Office are interested in the execution of the final sentence, including the seizure of illegal gains, Jelenić told reporters, adding that it remained to be seen how much could be seized from the frozen assets or if another option would be chosen.

He said there was a 15-day deadline for voluntary payment, after which seizure deadlines started running, adding that it was difficult to say how much the whole thing could take.

"We'll see," Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković said when asked if the assets could be returned within 15 days, adding that this was in the remit of the State Prosecutor's Office.

Asked if an investigation into leaks in the fake text messages case had given any results, Jelenić said the investigation was confidential.

Asked if Deputy Parliament Parliament Speaker Milijan Brkić and the other three suspects had been or would be interviewed, he reiterated that the investigation was confidential.

Asked about the Agrokor case and the fact that a financial evaluation that is key for completing the investigation into it was not completed this week, as had been announced, Jelenić said the accounting experts had apologised to the relevant prosecutor's office and said they would submit their findings as soon as possible.

More news about Ivo Sanader can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Prosecution Appeals against Former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader Verdict

ZAGREB, January 4, 2019 - The anti-corruption agency USKOK appealed on Friday against the Zagreb County Court ruling under which former prime minister Ivo Sanader was guilty of war profiteering because in war time he received kickbacks from Austria's Hypo bank which gave Croatia a loan to purchase embassy buildings.

At the time, in his capacity as deputy foreign minister in charge of negotiations to secure a loan from Austria's bank, Sanader had taken advantage of the state of war to make financial gain for himself.

"The defendant was found guilty and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for war profiteering. USKOK believes the sentence is too lenient and the Zagreb County Court did not acknowledge aggravating circumstances to the extent it should have, while at the same time acknowledging mitigating circumstances," USKOK said in a press release.

In the Hypo case, Sanader was accused of taking 3.6 million kuna in kickbacks when he was deputy foreign minister, after Austria's Hypo bank gave Croatia a loan to buy diplomatic office buildings. At the time, Croatia was in the midst of war, so Sanader was also accused of war profiteering.

At the end of the trial, Sanader said he was not a war profiteer. The prosecution said the opposite, claiming in closing arguments that war profiteering had been proved and that he had been downplaying his role the whole time.

Sanader was already sentenced in this case, when he was also sentenced for taking a bribe from MOL director Zsolt Hernadi in exchange of management rights in INA. However, the Constitutional Court quashed the ruling in the Hypo case and requested a retrial.

The quashed sentence was the first sentence for war profiteering delivered after the Constitutional Court ruled that there was no statute of limitations on that crime. Quashing it, the Court said the Zagreb County Court and the Supreme Court did not establish if the statute of limitations had run out when Sanader was accused and that they failed to enforce a more lenient law.

More news on former prime minister Sanader can be found in our Politics section.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

USKOK Anti-Organised Crime Office Gets News Director

ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 - In her first appearance before the press since her appointment, the new director of the Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK), Vanja Marušić, pointed out the need for legislative amendments so that USKOK can work more efficiently on the most complex cases, adding that one of her first steps would be to meet with crime police heads to discuss the directions of their joint work.

Marušić said that she could not specify which legislative amendments might be made because this was something that isn't dealt with by the Chief State Prosecutor's Office alone, but also by the courts, the Justice Ministry and other institutions and experts.

Those amendments need to make sure that USKOK can work on the most complex corruption cases in the public and private sectors and on the most complex forms of organised crime. However, this does not mean backing down from the fundamental principle of zero tolerance to corruption, Marušić said.

She said that she expected support from the chief state prosecutor with regard to logistics, including the provision of adequate premises and hiring of IT and financial forensic experts.

In addition to good cooperation with the police, Marušić pointed out the importance of citizens' trust and support. "USKOK has always been and will be open to anyone who has information on corruption and are prepared to cooperate in proving criminal acts. Naturally, that doesn't mean that citizens should do USKOK's job, but the reality is that USKOK can't be present in all institutions and social spheres and have direct knowledge of all illegal activities," Marušić said.

She added that USKOK required good and checkable information that can be transformed into quality evidence and result in convictions.

Asked whether she was satisfied with USKOK's work so far and its image in the public, Marušić said that the public perception of the work of the judiciary generally isn't positive and that it is gauged by successes in "big cases." However, the greatest problem is the long duration of cases before the courts which USKOK isn't satisfied with either, and in that regard it is necessary to amend legislation to ensure efficiency and to expedite procedures, she concluded.

For more on the corruption issue in Croatia, click here.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Missing Prosecution File on Elite Prostitution Reconstructed

ZAGREB, October 20, 2018 - Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić has confirmed to the media that his office has completed the reconstruction of a missing file on a 2011 case concerning information leaks from a police investigation into elite prostitution in the context of which Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) vice-president and deputy parliament speaker Milijan Brkić has been mentioned.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Russian Chief Prosecutor Visits Zagreb

ZAGREB, October 19, 2018 - Croatia's chief state prosecutor Dražen Jelenić and his Russian counterpart, Yuri Y. Chaika, met on Thursday in Zagreb for talks on strengthening the struggle against crime and reinforcing the protection of human rights and freedoms, the Office of the Croatian Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) said in a press release on Friday.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Criminal Investigation in Agrokor to Continue for Many Months

ZAGREB, July 24, 2018 - The State Prosecutor's Office (DORH) has not yet spent the five million kuna the government allocated it in May 2017 to cover expenses of the Agrokor investigation and most of it will be spent on the extensive audit, State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić said on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Authorities Dismiss Zdravko Mamić’s Claims about Pressuring Court in Modrić-Lovren Case

ZAGREB, June 5, 2018 - The Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) on Tuesday resolutely dismissed claims by Zdravko Mamić that it had exerted pressure on the court and members of the panel of judges conducting a trial against that former Dinamo football club executive vice-president charged with fraud, and announced that it would ask the police to investigate the matter and check the authenticity of screen shots of a phone conversation which Mamić presented at a news conference on Monday.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

USKOK Takes Over Investigation of Agrokor Email Affair

ZAGREB, May 16, 2018 - After criminal charges were filed against former Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalić by the Free Croatia and Živi Zid parties due to the Agrokor email scandal, i.e. her email correspondence with the consultants and lawyers who worked on Lex Agrokor, the USKOK anti-corruption office is taking over that case, according to unofficial sources from the State Prosecutor's Office.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Parliament Committee Unanimously Endorses Candidate for State Prosecutor

ZAGREB, April 19, 2018 - The Croatian Parliament's Justice Committee on Thursday unanimously endorsed the government nomination of Dražen Jelenić as the new Chief State Prosecutor.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Pick for Chief State Prosecutor Gets Mostly Positive Reviews

ZAGREB, April 17, 2018 - Commenting on the government's decision to nominate Deputy Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić as the new Chief State Prosecutor, a member of the Social Democratic Party's (SDP) presidency Peđa Grbin said that Jelenić was a "good candidate."

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