Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Stjepan Curaj: 6 Suspicious Yachts Tied to Russians in Croatian Ports

March the 15th, 2022 - State Secretary Stjepan Curaj has stated that there are currently six ''suspicious yachts which are tied to Russians'' moored in various Croatian ports.

As Morski writes, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Stjepan Curaj, spoke recently about sanctions put in place against Russians close to Vladimir Putin's regime on RTL. He said that out of a total of 950 oligarchs on the list under current European Union (EU) sanctions, 680 of them were detected on February the 23rd, 2022, as those with direct or indirect ties to the Republic of Croatia.

Stjepan Curaj claimed that it is difficult to talk about the estimated value of their assets and property, and when it comes to movables, he says that six potentially suspicious yachts have been detected moored in Croatian waters and that the procedure surrounding all of that information is ongoing.

He also spoke about the case of a yacht in Betina on the island of Murter, and Stjepan Curaj said that he doesn't know specifically whether it is owned by someone on the infamous list, but in addition to Murter, he says, there are other ports in which this is an issue. He explained the procedure and stated that when it is determined that it is owned or under the control of a person placed on the Russian sanction list, then it is frozen and the Harbor Master's Office prohibits its release and departure. He assumes that this will be the case in Betina as well.

He also mentioned the yacht in Rijeka, which is well-known in the media and which we recently wrote about, and confirmed that it has indeed been frozen.

When asked about sound names involved, he said that Abramovich is the most famous of them all, and when asked if tycoon Vekselberg, who operates down in Dubrovnik and whose property and assets are currently blocked by the USA, is on the list, he claimd that he is on the American list.

As for the consequences for the businesses owned and carried out by these people, and thus for their employees, the Secretary of State says that there is a procedure and clear guidelines. “We need to clearly separate the company from the owner, in that the owner can’t use their company economically and have any financial benefits from it, but we also need to allow it to work because that’s our goal,” he explained.

Finally, he answered the question surrounding confiscated property and the idea coming from Britain to put that property into the function of receiving and caring for Ukrainian refugees. Stjepan Curaj said that sanctions against Russia are prescribed by the 2014 provision and it determines that all property be frozen and be made unable to be used for anything else. If we were to decide to adopt Britain's idea and use it in another way, he says the provision should be changed.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Unofficial Source Claims Stjepan Curaj Could Take Darko Horvat's Place

February the 23rd, 2022 - An unofficial source has suggested that Darko Horvat's replacement could be Stjepan Curaj, but this is yet to be confirmed in any sense with any certainty.

The now former Minister Darko Horvat is being held in custody following his arrest for alleged corruption, about which we've written extensively since the situation occurred over the past few days. USKOK swooped in and as much as PM Andrej Plenkovic tried to calm things, people are rightly up in arms about yet another minister being investigated and arrested for the apparently age-old (alleged) crime of corruption.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the name of the new minister set to come and take Horvat's place is still not officially known, but as was unofficially confirmed by the Government for N1, it could be Stjepan Curaj, the head of the HNS (Hrvatska Narodna Stranka/Croatian People's Party).

Maybe someone else is still in the game with their eye on Darko Horvat's still warm chair, maybe those people could be still valid options, but according to unofficial sources from the Government, Stjepan Curaj is said to already be a member of the Banija/Banovina (post-earthquake) reconstruction staff, is entirely informed about the whole story, is very familiar with the details and the belief is that he would do his best in that business.

The party involved isn't one that you tend to hear of anywhere as much as the likes of HDZ or SDP, but despite that, it is a party that split in order to save the Government of Andrej Plenkovic back in the day, and they paid for that in the elections.

If the Prime Minister does end up deciding that Stjepan Curaj will be the new minister to take over from Horvat, he might be indebted to the Croatian People's Party which saved him in his last term when he expelled Most (Bridge) from the Government, and maybe he would actually seek to somehow reward the Croatian People's Party for their part in that sticky situation.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Members of Parliament Hope For Revival of Capital Market

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - Amendments to the Capital Market Act, which are aimed at further aligning Croatia's regulatory framework with the EU acquis, were supported on Wednesday by both the Opposition and the ruling majority in the parliament, who expressed hopes for the revival of the capital market. 

This is one of the most complicated laws that summarises what kind of capital market Europe wants, said Social Democrat MP Boris Lalovac, warning that Croatia's capital market was far less developed than the European.

"The value of the capital market in Croatia is HRK 276 billion, 140 billion are stocks and 130 billion securities, the annual turnover of the Zagreb Stock Exchange is around HRK 3 billion while the turnover on the OTC market is HRK 27 billion," Lalovac said.

That shows that outside of the stock exchange and capital markets, which have strict rules, trading is ten times greater, Lalovac said, expressing hope this would change.

Grozdana Perić of the HDZ said that better oversight and regulation would enable further development of the capital market in Croatia.

She warned, however, that the coronavirus crisis had caused an outflow of funds from investment funds and that their value had dropped by more than 35% or HRK 8 billion.

That is one of the reasons for amending the law, said the State Secretary at the Finance Ministry, Stjepan Čuraj, who presented the amendments to MPs.

"If we take as an example the Zagreb Stock Exchange alone, during the pandemic in 2020 it dropped by more than 35%, from 2,000 to 1,300 basis points," Čuraj said, noting that there was room for improvement.

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