Wednesday, 14 April 2021

American Film Producer Don Victor Cisternino Ends Up in Remetinec Jail - Jutarnji List daily Reports

ZAGREB, 14 April, 2021 - US actor and producer Don Victor Cisternino has found himself on an international arrest warrant because the United States wants him for fraud of millions of dollars in subsidies for his employees affected by the pandemic, the Jutarnji List daily said on Wednesday.

I was afraid that the new administration under President Joe Biden would prosecute me for this kind of business, even though it was allowed during the Trump administration. That is why I decided to flee to Europe after the election in the US and seek asylum in Russia or some other country. And that's how I came to Croatia where I wanted to seek political asylum, Cisternino was quoted as saying.

The 45-year old actor and producer, known for his episode role in the television series ER, was arrested on an international arrest warrant on Sunday evening when he entered Croatia from Slovenia in a vehicle.

Over the past few years Cisternino has been running his own company, Magnifi Co, providing consulting services in the film and art industry. The state attorney in Orlando, Florida has charged Cisternino with embezzlement of $7.2 million of a state loan for support to companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cisternino submitted fraudulent details to obtain a jobkeeping loan claiming that his company employed 422 employees, yet it only has two - Cisternino and his wife.

Irregularities were discovered by the tax authorities as Cisternino's tax return noted that all his workers paid the same tax of $3,356. However, due to tax deductions related to the number of children, unemployed spouse and other benefits, taxation varies from employee to employee which then raised suspicion as all 422 workers paid an identical tax amount.

Cisternino has declared that he objects to being extradited to the US. That means that his extradition won't be expedited and the formal extradition procedure will follow, the daily reported.

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

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Dingač Wine at Joe Biden Inauguration an Opportunity for Croatia

January 20, 2021 - Dingač wine will be served at the Joe Biden Inauguration on Wednesday, which is a huge opportunity for the Pelješac wine region and the whole of Croatia.

The inauguration of the new US president Joe Biden on Wednesday will attract people from all over the world - and in addition to the list of distinguished guests, two Croatian wines will have their place in the spotlight. 

Namely, T.portal writes that the first protected Croatian wine - Dingač - will be found on the tables of Biden's inauguration, as well as Zinfandel. 

Plavac Mali is the most important native grape variety in Croatia, and the best Plavac is produced in the localities of Dingač and Postup on the Pelješac peninsula, on the south side of the island of Hvar, and in the good positions of the Brač and Vis vineyards. 

"Dingač had a good reputation before the 15th century and was sold at higher prices than all other wines in the market. It is a premium dry red wine, protected by the Geneva Convention in 1961 and the first Croatian wine protected by law. More than 90 percent of Plavac is produced on Pelješac. The fact that it will be served at Biden's inauguration is a great promotion for the wine itself and the whole of Croatia," says Slobodan Rosić, secretary of the Plavac Mali association from Pelješac.

"I think this is an opportunity for the whole of Croatia, as it is great to have a bottle of wine from Croatia on the tables of the inauguration. The producer is not important either, but Pelješac, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and Croatia. I think that we winemakers, as well as all our counties and chambers, should start a good wine campaign to place Dingač on the world map; that is a good way," says Rosić.

He adds that such an opportunity should definitely be used because of the coronavirus pandemic, which drastically slowed down sales:

"Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we can't even offer a day of open wines. We have large stocks of unsold wine in warehouses, and we expect restaurants and cafes to open every day. The wine will not be distilled, it will age for a year without income, but it is difficult for winemakers, as they have been without income for a year," he concluded.

Dragan Kovačević, vice-president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Agriculture and Tourism, believes that the selection of Croatian wines for Biden's inauguration is the culmination of many years of trends in their successful export and promotion in the American market.

"Our exports are growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, and according to data for the first ten months of 2020, it reached 860 thousand dollars or remained at the levels of 2019 despite the business crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, which hurt all business segments, especially the wine sector, as it is highly dependent on promotional and social events and tourism trends," explained Kovačević. He added that in the USA, which is the fifth most important market for the export of Croatian wines, mostly top bottled wines (over 80 percent of exports) are sent at a high average price compared to other countries Croatia exports.

For example, in the first 10 months of 2020, the average export price of Croatian wines in the United States was 6.84 euro per liter, while in 2019, it was 6.89 euro per liter. Due to the specific distribution method, wine exported from Croatia for $12 for a bottle reaches $35 to $40 on the shelf of an American wine shop, or from $60 to $80 in restaurants.

"Wine for a country like Croatia, which achieves almost a fifth of its GDP through tourism and the multiplier effects of tourism, and is visited annually by over 20 million tourists, is potentially an important export product. Along with gastronomy, wine plays an increasingly important role in the tourist offer and branding of Croatia as an eno-gastro destination," said Kovačević, adding that we must emphasize our advantages, which are over 120 indigenous grape varieties and a mosaic of four wine-growing and wine regions with all varietal and positional specifics, which should be the backbone of marketing.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

HGK's Ivan Barbaric Highlights Problems Croatia and USA Must Solve

January the 20th, 2021 - The US Government has changed, and with Joe Biden as the new president, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's Ivan Barbaric has looked at precisely which questions must be answered, and which issues must be solved by the countries on either side of the vast Atlantic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the change of Government in the USA could pave way to an additional impetus to the economic relations between Croatia and the USA, and so far the highest priority is to solve the problem of double taxation and abolish visas for Croatian citizens, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) announced.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce states that Croatian exports to the United States are continuing to grow solidly and constantly, and that a change of government in one of the world's strongest economies could give an additional spring to the step of the two countries' economic relations. 

Back in 2019, the total trade exchange between Croatia and the United States amounted to an impressive 649 million US dollars, of which 461 million kuna was made up by Croatian exports (14 percent more than in 2018). In the first nine months of 2020, the amount of exports of goods to the United States also reached almost 370 million US dollars, an increase of almost three percent over the same period a year earlier. Ivan Barbaric, Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for International Affairs, believes that the economic and trade policy of the new administration of President Joe Biden will change the current direction, will go back into the direction of the process of economic globalisation, cooperation with international organisations and possible inclusion in some new/old trade agreements.

"The currently weakened strategic partnership between Washington and the European Union could now also be repaired, with the hope that the new US administration will enable stability and predictability of EU-US relations and trade. In the end, it would certainly benefit Croatia, ie Croatian companies that do business internationally,'' said Ivan Barbaric, adding that double taxation is one of the burning problems of economic relations between Croatia and the United States and has been for a long time now.

Namely, as he stated, Croatian companies export a significant number of services to the USA, during the first nine months of 2020 revenues from such services amounted to 152 million euros, and the companies that export services will be most helped out by signing the Double Taxation Agreement.

"We believe that the new US administration will realise the importance of this agreement and sign it as soon as possible," Ivan Barbaric stressed. The current topic is the abolition of visas for Croatian citizens, and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce also cooperated with the US Embassy in Croatia in resolving this problem. According to the latest unofficial information, Croatia has met all the conditions, so visas could be abolished soon.

An example of quality economic and political cooperation, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce points out, is the LNG terminal on Krk, which was put into commercial operation at the beginning of the year. This is a project of great strategic and geopolitical importance for both Croatia and the EU as a whole, because the import of American gas reduces the dependence of European consumers on Russian gas, meaning that it diversifies energy supply sources.

President-elect Biden has already announced the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement, which means a greater possibility of American investments in the field of energy, and Croatian companies should also look for their chance in this field. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce also added that wines from Croatia, more precisely Peljesac dingac and zinfandel, will be poured at the inauguration of the new American president, which is just the culmination of long-term trends of successful export and promotion of local wines over on the American market.

Croatian wine exports are growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, and according to data for the first ten months of 2020, it reached the amount of 860,000 US dollars, meaning that despite the pandemic, it remained at the levels from 2019.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

US Vice President Biden Talks with Prime Minister Plenković

The two leaders talked about integration of Western Balkans into the EU, after Croatia blocked part of Serbia’s negotiations with the European Union.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Joe Biden Meets Croatian PM Milanovic Ahead of Summit

An important photo op for Zoran Milanovic, as Joe Biden jets into Zagreb. 

Friday, 13 November 2015

US Vice President Biden to Visit Zagreb in November

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Council President Donald Tusk are also invited to the Brdo-Brijuni conference