Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Arrested Osijek Judges Sent to Zagreb For USKOK Questioning

ZAGREB, 9 June, 2021 - The three judges of Osijek County Court who were arrested on suspicion of graft on Wednesday morning have been transferred to Zagreb for questioning by the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK).

According to unofficial information, the judges Darko Krušlin and Ante Kvesić were already brought to the USKOK headquarters, after which judge Zvonko Vekić and businessman Drago Tadić were expected too.

USKOK said the arrests were the result of an investigation conducted in cooperation with the police anti-corruption office (PNUSKOK) and tax authorities. The investigation was prompted by accusations made by former Dinamo football club boss Zdravko Mamić who claimed he had bribed the judges concerned to clear him of the charges of embezzlement of money from that sport club.

The State Judicial Council (DSV) previously launched disciplinary proceedings against Krušlin and Vekić, following a request to that effect by the Osijek County Court, for socialising with Mamić. Mamić fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina a few years ago before the announcement of a trial court ruling in a case in which he was charged with siphoning HRK 116 million from Dinamo.

The judges were suspended in late March pending the completion of disciplinary proceedings, and the DSV at the time also rejected a motion by Mamić's defence to be party to the proceedings.

The arrest of three judges a blow to the court

Osijek County Court president Zvonko Vrban told Hina today that the apprehension of the three judges was "a blow to the County Court in Osijek in terms of its functioning."

The court is going to make technical rearrangements, however, "the reputation of those who work in the court can now be questioned by clients".

Vrban declined to comment on the speculation that Mamić bribed the judges in cash, by paying for their travel arrangements and buying them shoes and clothes to make sure they would acquit him.

Last October, Mamić sent USKOK corruption investigators a USB stick with evidence incriminating the judges. On 16 March this year, after the Supreme Court upheld the trial court sentence against him of six and a half years in prison, Mamić held a press conference in the southern Bosnia and Herzegovina city of Mostar, accusing Supreme Court President Đuro Sessa and judges Vekić and Krušlin of corruption and bribe taking, and calling Osijek County Court president Vrban "a criminal who will be dismissed sooner or later."

Mamić claimed that he had paid Vekić over €500,000, which he was to split with Krušlin and Kvesić.

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

JANAF Director Suspected of Influence Peddling

ZAGREB, Sept 17, 2020 - The attorney of JANAF oil pipeline director Dragan Kovacevic, Ivo Farcic, confirmed on Thursday that his client was arrested on suspicion of influence peddling.

"I can't say how many deals we are talking about," he told the press outside JANAF, where a search of the premises was completed in the early afternoon, adding that the state prosecutor would probably issue a press release soon.

Farcic said many other premises were expected to be searched, most likely today, and that his client must be present at all searches. He added that Kovacevic did not comment on the suspicions and that at this stage of the proceedings he was not obliged to do so.

Farcic said Kovacevic was likely to be interviewed at the USKOK anti-corruption office on Friday.

The media have reported that he is suspected of taking an HRK 1.9 million bribes from the head of a company which landed an HRK 40 million deal from JANAF.

Searches are underway in several citizens and ten persons have apparently been arrested, while another two are expected to be if stripped of parliamentary immunity from prosecution, on which the parliamentary Credentials and Privileges Commission is deciding at 5 p.m.

The two are Velika Gorica Mayor Drazen Barisic of the ruling HDZ and Nova Gradiska Mayor Vinko Grgic of the opposition SDP. Both are MPs and told the press today they had nothing to do with corruption.

USKOK and the police are expected to issue press releases on today's arrests later today.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

PM: Everyone Found Guilty Will Answer for Their Crimes

ZAGREB, Sept 17, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday commented today's arrests and preliminary investigations in the JANAF oil pipeline operator, supporting the authorities in all their actions and saying that everyone found guilty would answer for their crimes.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, he said this was "yet another very clear message (that) the task of all bodies, notably judicial bodies, DORH, USKOK, PNUSKOK and the police, is to do an impartial and independent job and thoroughly investigate and prosecute everyone suspected of taking part in corruption activities."

"This message of the fight against corruption is constant and continuous," Plenkovic said, adding that his government was proving that it advocated fighting corruption through "concrete action."

He supported the State Prosecutor's Office (DORH), the USKOK anti-corruption office and the PNUSKOK police anti-corruption office "in all activities which are independent and free of any influence or pressure on their work.

"Everyone found guilty... will answer for a certain act," Plenkovic said, adding that he would say more about this morning's police operation after learning more about it.

"We have a principled position, very firm and clear, we stand behind it and that's will be our policy."

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Janaf Confirms Police Search of Its Offices

ZAGREB, Sept 17, 2020 - The state-run oil operator Janaf on Thursday confirmed that the Police Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (PNUSKOK) was searching the company's offices.

A brief statement, issued on Thursday morning after some media outlets broke the news that JANAF board chairman Dragan Kovacevic was arrested by the police on suspicion of financial irregularities, only read that the police and PNUSKOK officers were currently conducting investigations into the offices of the company and that the oil operator did its business as usual.

Several media outlets reported this morning that the police had launched a probe into mayors Drazen Barisic of Velika Gorica and Vinko Grgic of Nova Gradiska and the JANAF oil operator's director Kovacevic on suspicion of involvement in murky dealings.

According to unofficial reports, one of the subjects of the investigation is an HRK 700 million projects of a new sewerage system and water purification plant in Velika Gorica.

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