Friday, 22 April 2022

JANAF Resumes Oil Delivery to Serbia's NIS

ZAGREB, 22 April (2022) - Croatia's oil pipeline operator JANAF said on Friday it was allowed to resume the delivery of crude oil to the Serbian oil company NIS, adding that it had concluded storage contracts with the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency and the Delta Oil International company.

JANAF reported on 29 March that its contract with NIS was covered by EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić then said that the problem of oil delivery would be addressed together with Croatia and the European Union.

JANAF said on Friday that the EU Council regulation of 8 April amending a regulation concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine allows JANAF to continue performing its obligations under the contract on crude oil transport with NIS.

JANAF also said it had concluded storage contracts with the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency and the Delta Oil International company.

The contract with the Hydrocarbon Agency provides for the storage of 20,000 cubic metres of diesel fuel and the same amount of unleaded petrol at the Omišalj Terminal on Krk island from 1 July to 31 December 2022.

Under the contract with Delta Oil International, 169,000 cubic metres of crude oil will be stored at Omišalj from 15 April to 15 August 2022.

JANAF's CEO Stjepan Adanić said that the new contracts were yet another confirmation of JANAF's strength and importance as a key component of the energy market in the European Union, Croatia and this part of Europe.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

JANAF, OMV Sign First Oil Storage Contract

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - The JANAF oil pipeline and storage system said on Wednesday it had signed its first contract with Austria's OMV Supply & Trading Ltd for storing up to 99,000 cubic metres of crude oil at the Omišalj Terminal for a period of two years.

Management said the contract confirmed JANAF's strong export orientation, adding that the company generated over 60% of its revenue from foreign clients.

The new contract ensures the further use of our storage capacity and stable business in the longer term, Management Board chairman Stjepan Adanić and Board member Vladislav Veslica said.

For more about diplomacy in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: "Decision to Return Child to Biological Family Was Bad"

ZAGREB, 7 April, 2021 - PM Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday, in a comment on the death of a 2.5-year-old girl caused by domestic violence, that the decision to return the child to its biological family was bad and that those who made it should bear the consequences, noting that social care did not require a separate ministry.

"I don't know why the proposal to separate social care from the 'mega-ministry' is being made," Plenković told reporters in the parliament.

He recalled that in 2013, during the term of the Zoran Milanović government, a case similar to the last one happened in Slavonski Brod, and at the time there was a separate ministry of social care.

When they lack arguments, people make banal, nonsensical statements, Plenković said, adding that Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović was capable of heading the ministry because the ministry had its services, directors, state secretaries and social welfare centres across Croatia.

"In this specific case with a fatal outcome, the assessment and decision to return the little girl to her biological family was a bad one and for that kind of professional mistake responsibility lies with those who make it," he said.

Plenković went on to say that since the case of an incident on Pag Island in 2019, when a father threw his four underage children from the first-storey balcony of his house, a lot had changed in the social care system.

"During the terms of ministers (Nada) Murganić, (Vesna) Bedeković and now Minister Aladrović, we have worked to strengthen the system of social care. We have worked to raise social workers' wages as well as standards of physical and technical security, so now welfare centres have guards," he said.

The government has increased outlays for social care and allowances and it expects the system to function better and to the benefit of children, he said.

Unfortunately, there are problems, there are dysfunctional families, horrible things are done by biological parents but they will all answer for their actions in a legal procedure, Plenković said, adding that he was appalled and extremely saddened by the latest case.

Speaking of illogical provisions in the foster care law, adopted by his government, Plenković said that every legal solution could be improved.

It is important to speed up foster care procedures and that all children who live in environments that are not appropriate and not safe find a safe place to live. We will improve the law. There is always something to improve, he said.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Plenković also talked about a decision the European Medicines Agency is expected to make on the age groups for which the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is acceptable.

He said he would meet today with Health Minister Vili Beroš and the directors of the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Croatian agency for medicinal products to discuss the information they had, and that later today Beroš would participate in a video conference of EU health ministers.

"The most important thing is that the member states' ministers of health have a consolidated position, whatever the EMA's recommendation, and that there are no different practices. Different practices undermine the reputation of a vaccine, whatever its quality, which has happened with AstraZeneca from the start, unfortunately."

Plenković said the confusion about that vaccine had resulted in some people refusing it, which was not pleasant either for the company or anyone involved in vaccination.

He also responded to criticism that he had promised that a majority of the Croatian population would be vaccinated by spring yet had now postponed this until July.

He said AstraZeneca had promised to deliver 120 million doses to the EU in the first quarter but delivered 30 million. Croatia was to have received 1.7 million doses by 31 March and vaccinated more than 800,000 people, he added.

Plenković said 600,000 doses had been delivered and that 2.6 million would be by 30 June, adding that the government was working on having other vaccines available in case of more problems with AstraZeneca.

"Had we ordered 100% from each company and paid for 25 million doses, then all questions would have been - whose money are we spending and why are we buying three or four times as many doses as we need?"

He said an unforeseen thing had happened, not with a no-name company but one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Central bank governor, fighter jets, former JANAF CEO's arrest

Asked if he had known about central bank governor Boris Vujčić's correspondence with representatives of the Knighthead fund concerning the Agrokor conglomerate, Plenković said the question should be put to Vujčić.

Speaking of the procurement of fighter jets, he said consultations were under way and that a decision would be made in time. All offers are valid and we'll take some more time to decide, he added.

Asked to comment on the new arrest of Dragan Kovačević, former CEO of the JANAF oil pipeline operator, Plenković said everything about it should be said by the USKOK anti-corruption office and the State Attorney's Office.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

SDP Again Calls on HDZ to Support Establishment of JANAF Inquiry Commission

ZAGREB, October 11, 2020 - Social Democratic Party president Pedja Grbin on Sunday once again called on the ruling HDZ to support the establishment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the JANAF oil pipeline operator corruption affair.

The SDP is very clearly appealing to the HDZ, if there is something in the motion for the establishment of the commission of inquiry that doesn't suit you, tell us, we'll sit down and talk, and amend it if necessary, Grbin said in Velika Gorica.

Don't hide behind technicalities to stop what is crucial for Croatia at the moment, which is, let's take measures so that we can find out what is happening with our investigations, where there is political pressure, why information is leaking, and let's create a framework to prevent that, he added.

Grbin said he was visiting Velika Gorica to make a clear statement about the fight against corruption because it best illustrated how corruption developed, from utility companies to the town given that the mayor, Dragan Barisic of the HDZ, was in custody.

Barisic is one of 14 people in the JANAF affair whom the USKOK anti-corruption office is investigating for influence peddling, bribery and abuse of office.

Grbin also said the SDP had started preparing for the May 2021 local elections.

Friday, 9 October 2020

One More Suspect in Janaf Scandal Released from Custody

ZAGREB, October 8, 2020 - Mirjana Prodan, a close associate of Kreso Peterk, the main suspect in the Janaf scandal, has been released after some more arguments were added to her defence evidence, Zagreb County Court told Hina on Friday.

Prodan is suspected that she, Petek and Velika Gorica Mayor Drazen Barisic (HDZ) conspired to rig a tender for a water purifying project in Velika Gorica so it could be awarded to Petek's Elektrocentar company. The project was valued at HRK 97 million while Petek won the contract for a value of HRK 148 million.

The director of the water supply company in Velika Gorica, Tomislav Jelisavec and the head of that EU-funded project Katarina Gasparac were previously released. Jelisavec, Gasparac and the director of the Solarne Tehnologije company Zvonko Maras have admitted being guilty of the charges. Maras's company was in partnership with Petek's Elektrocentar.


14 suspects under investigation

Gasparac has allegedly told Uskok that Jelisavec insisted that the tender be approved for the agreed price so that local authorities and the town's utility company would not be under any pressure. Gasparac also allegedly told investigators that Jelisavec insisted that the tender documentations should be prepared by Marijana Prodan.

According to the Telegram news portal, a recording of a conversation between Katarina Gasparac, indicates that she at first did not wish to participate in the tender and agreed, only after Jelisavec insisted. Both were arrested in the investigation on the grounds that they could influence witnesses.

Close sources have informed that another four suspects are prepared to admit their guilt in the scandal.

Uskok launched the investigation into a total of 14 people  suspected of influence peddling, bribery, abuse of office, and aiding and abetting in these crimes and those are the owner of the Elektropromet Kreso Petek, former Janaf CEO  Dragan Kovacevic, Velika Gorica Mayor Barisic and Nova Gradiska Mayor Vinko Grgic of the SDP,  Jelisavec, Gasparac, Maras, Prodan, Vlado Zoric, Damir Vrbanc, Vatroslav Sablic, Iva Suler, Ljubomir Perusic and Goran Puklin.

In the meantime Mirela Aleric Puklin asked to be relieved of duties as a deputy state prosecutor  in the Zagreb office, after her husband Goran was accused of hiding HRK 4.5 million of illegally gained money that belonged to Dragan Kovacevic.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Interior Minister, Police Director Talk Information Leaks, Surveillance Breaches

ZAGREB, Sept 29, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Tuesday that parliamentary Domestic Policy and National Security Committee chair Niksa Vukas would receive a report on information leaks and that he could always contact the ministry and the police.

Speaking to the press, Bozinovic said Vukas "can ask and will receive an answer, probably to the effect that DORH (State Prosecutor's Office) and the police are conducting preliminary investigations. They are doing that and they will inform the public about the results."

Vukas said this morning that he would request Bozinovic's comment on the situation in the system, surveillance breaches and information leaks, and that next week he would convene the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee over the JANAF corruption case.

Surveillance breaches are not good

Asked if he was concerned about surveillance breaches in big cases and if anything had been identified in that regard in the case of former state secretary Josipa Rimac, Bozinovic said that it was not good that those breaches were occurring.

"However, as far as I know, DORH is conducting preliminary investigations in coordination with the police which are aimed at uncovering the reasons and those who are illegally involved in surveillance breaches."

The most important part of the criminal investigation, which is conducted by the police in cooperation with DORH and USKOK (anti-corruption office), was finished and charges have been filed, which means that they collected enough evidence, Bozinovic said.

"This isn't good, of course. However, DORH and the police are working on it and I'm sure they will inform us when they have some results."

Asked if the police were powerless about surveillance breaches, the minister said all criminal investigations were long, painstaking, and uncertain.

"When several months pass and result in the collection of enough evidence, it means... that a good job was done and that it was done as the law stipulates, which means keeping preliminary investigations secret."

Emergency services are working

Bozinovic also commented on the HT telecom's technical difficulties today due to which it is not possible to get 112, the number for emergency services.

"I'm sure someone will say what happened. When it comes to key communications and the communications of all emergency services, that shouldn't be a problem as they all have their own line of communication, their own means of communication when it comes to civil protection services," he said, voicing confidence that the system was working.

That was financed with European money and the Interior Ministry has made sure that those communications, based on TETRA devices, work in all emergency services, he added.

Police intensively working on finding those responsible for information leaks

Police Director Nikola Milina told the press the police were intensively working on finding those responsible for leaking police information while simultaneously working on the prevention of information leaks.

He said they reported police officers for information leaks in 15 cases over the past two years.

Commenting on surveillance breaches in the cases of Rimac and the recently arrested director of the JANAF oil pipeline operator, Dragan Kovacevic, Milina said the police "are intensively working on those cases... We are the least interested in having surveillance breached. However, each case is different."

He said that in both cases the police pressed charges on suspicion that a number of persons had committed various white collar and corruption crimes.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

President Milanovic Says will Discuss JANAF Case with PM

ZAGREB, Sept 26, 2020  - President Zoran Milanovic said on Saturday in Pregrada that the solution to the JANAF case should be control, responsibility and cooperation in line with the Constitution and that he would meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to discuss the case.

The Prime Minister and his associates have spoken about the new scandal merely at the level of slogans from communist political schools, he said.

"That is not enough. He and I can consider the issue together, we can convene the National Security Council. I have also thought about that, but I am not sure that would bear fruit given the legal composition of the council and the role of some of its members," he added.

Milanovic said that a topic he and PM Andrej Plenkovic could discuss was how investigative bodies were acting. He also said that the leaking of information related to the investigation in the JANAF case constituted not only a violation of the rules under which an investigation was not a public matter but also a violation of basic moral principles.

One must be able to trust the government, Plenkovic cannot run away from responsibility

"One has to be able to trust someone at the top of the chain of command, first of all in the Croatian government. That is the prime minister and he cannot run away from responsibility," Milanovic said.

Asked whether he considered it strange that a man who had been a director for about 15 years, but whose salary had not been that large, owned a private club, Milanovic said that he did not because it was a small space of 30 square meters, and Dragan Kovacevic was not the only owner.

I was there several times, accompanied by a small number of people, he added.

As for his visits to the club during the lockdown, Milanovic said he had met there with the head of the national COVID-19 response team for practical reasons.

"Because that was during the lockdown and because a friend from Dalmatia called me who had a lot of food he would have otherwise thrown away because he had no one to give it to, we met there because it was more practical," he said, adding that this was "such a silly topic."

Asked whether he should have been informed that he was socialising with a man who was under investigation, the President responded with a counterquestion -- who would have informed him about it.

"SOA (Security and Intelligence Agency) does not have that kind of information because it does not take part in stealing money from public companies and it cannot have such information. It is one thing to be cordial to someone and that is a question of my responsibility and my judgement, but if I am in a situation to evaluate someone, to appoint them, then I have a different kind of information, but SOA is not connected to that," he added.

Asked how the case should end, Milanovic said that the solution to it was in control, responsibility, and cooperation in line with the Constitution, as well as in the separation of powers because, he added, everything was prescribed in a clear way.

Office: President to meet with PM

President Milanovic's office said in a statement later in the day that Milanovic would discuss the JANAF case and the functioning of state institutions with PM Plenkovic.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Pregrada, Milanovic said that the topic of ambassadors which Plenkovic wanted to discuss with him would be "a topic of secondary importance (at the meeting), while the real topic will be the way this country functions."

"... It is important to discuss how this state functions, to finally see what the prime minister knows," Milanovic said.

"For months his ministers had put themselves in a situation to compromise themselves, quite unnecessarily. Someone should have known about and prevented that. Not to mention damage to JANAF. That is a topic for discussion between the prime minister and myself because we represent the state authorities, he has greater powers than I do and that is why I will adapt to his schedule. Speaking of the principle of separation of powers, there is also the principle of cooperation between state institutions. One has to be able to trust someone... at the top of the chain of command, primarily in the government. That person is the prime minister and he cannot run away from responsibility," said Milanovic.

He noted that the prime minister had told him that they had to meet.

"I do not have the last say here, he does, but I will not stop talking. This is simply a test which has shown that Croatia has a problem," Milanovic said as cited by his office.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Milanovic Suspects Information on JANAF Case Leaking from DORH

ZAGREB, Sept 25, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic on Friday repeated his claim that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic had known details about the JANAF case investigation, and he also thinks that information on the case is leaking from the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH).

Milanovic said that the prime minister had to know everything that was important and a burden on the system because otherwise, there was no one running anything, but only anonymous people hiding behind DORH's name.

"Who is DORH, who was in charge of that case? That person has a name and surname," Milanovic told reporters in Pazin, where Istria County Day is being marked.

"One person has the biggest responsibility, and that is the prime minister and he must know. And I believe that he will handle that information responsibly," he said.

He also said that Ranko Ostojic, who was interior minister at the time when Milanovic was prime minister, was not correct when he said that he had not been informing Milanovic about investigations.

"He was informing me, and he was not the only one, on all important things," he said.

Milanovic believes that DORH's autonomy means that "there is no influence on their procedures."

Suspicion that information is leaking from DORH

As for information leaking from the investigation, Milanovic said that there were only two possible sources -- police and DORH, and he suspected that DORH was leaking information to the press.

He reiterated that it was not clear to him why JANAF oil pipeline operator CEO Dragan Kovacevic had not been arrested when he had accepted a bribe and the investigation continued for 10 more months, so there was only circumstantial evidence left now.

Milanovic dismissed claims by ministers in the Plenkovic government that at the time when Milanovic was prime minister, he abolished security checks, saying that that was not true.

"I did not. That's a lie. I refused to let SOA (Security and Intelligence Agency) check my ministers, candidates for ministers, when I had to form a government. (...) I take responsibility for the government," he said.

Asked about his visits to Kovacevic's private club, Milanovic said that he thought he had not been there during the coronavirus crisis lockdown.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Mesic Confirms Visiting Kovacevic's Club, Doesn't Remember When

ZAGREB, Sept 25, 2020 - Former President Stjepan Mesic on Friday confirmed that he had visited a club owned by former Janaf CEO Dragan Kovacevic, who has been arrested in the Janaf graft case, but he could not recall whether that was during the coronavirus lockdown, noting however that they kept their distance.

"I don't remember when I went to the club, perhaps it was in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic. However, if you keep your distance, everything is all right, and we did keep our distance," Mesic told reporters on Friday when asked whether it was contentious that he went to the club during the lockdown.

Mesic claimed that visitors did not have to leave their mobile phones at the entrance to the club.

"We spoke normally. I did not see incumbent President Zoran Milanovic there during the lockdown. I went at the invitation of my friend, Janaf CEO, but I cannot recall the details," said Mesic.

He added that he did not see what was contentious about him going to a "friendly encounter with the director of a large company."

Minister says he visited Kovacevic's club

Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic, too, said that he had visited Kovacevic's club twice, in June and August. 

"In any case, since other senior officials, from incumbent President Zoran Milanovic to former president Mesic, had been there, I was curious to see what sort of club that was," said Butkovic and added that it is quite modest.

"I didn't leave my mobile phone at the entrance. I never part with it," he added.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Friday, 25 September 2020

You Think I'm Thrilled That My Ministers Went to the Club? PM Tells the Press

ZAGREB, Sept 25, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Friday that he was not pleased that three of his ministers had visited the club of former JANAF CEO Dragan Kovacevic during the lockdown when all bars were closed and citizens were advised to avoid large gatherings. 

"I think the same as you do. You think I am thrilled? You should ask around a bit more about who was there and when. I don't know, but you look into it," Plenkovic said in response to questions from the press after a meeting of the parliamentary group of his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party.

Asked if he considered it a problem that his ministers had gone to the club during the lockdown, he said that there were also some more senior officials who frequented the place.

"I asked all my ministers at the cabinet meeting and three of them said they had been there. They had also said this in public, which was the first time I heard about it. Why do you think that I as the prime minister should know where any of them has their lunch or dinner, who they socialise with. That's not realistic, it's beside the point," Plenkovic said.

He referred the press to the ministers Tomislav Coric, Oleg Butkovic and Josip Aladrovic to ask them to explain why they had gone there, noting that he did not know and that this was not something he should know.

He added that they should also ask the State Inspectorate why they had not checked the club. "As far as I could see in the media, they said they did not go there because that place is not registered as a catering establishment."

"What is very important in this whole story is the astonishment of the President and some of the former presidents who were quoted by some dailies yesterday as experts. That is a novelty to me and a much bigger thing than those who are astonished that the government, the State Attorney's Office, USKOK and police act in accordance with the law," the prime minister said, adding that at issue here was the separation of powers into three branches of government and compliance with the law. "That is crucial, of course, along with suspicions of corruption." 

Asked to comment on the opposition's initiative to set up a parliamentary inquiry commission to look into the influence of the executive branch on the work of independent judicial institutions, Plenkovic said that he did not need an inquiry commission to understand "who is astonished by what." He said that as soon as the opposition decides on the exact scope of that commission, the HDZ and their coalition partners would consider the proposal.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Page 1 of 3