Friday, 15 April 2022

Cocaine, Weapon and Migrant Smugglers Remanded in Custody

ZAGREB, 15 April (2022) - A Zagreb County Court investigating judge on Thursday evening remanded in custody all ten members of a criminal group suspected of smuggling cocaine from South America, murdering Milan Milovac, a close associate of Serbian drug lord Darko Šarić, and smuggling military weapons and migrants.

According to unofficial sources, Petar Ćosić aka Šarac and Manuel Vulić are suspected of killing Milovac.

USKOK anti-corruption office deputy head Željka Panza Ostrogonac said six criminal groups had been under investigation in two separate cases.

All criminal groups were high-profile gangs and the arrested Croatian nationals held high positions in them, she said.

Panza Ostrogonac said that the arrest of Serbian drug lord Darko Šarić in Belgrade on Thursday had some connection to the charges regarding the murder of Milovac, a Croatian national, in Ecuador.

Without revealing the suspects' identity, the prosecutorial authorities said earlier that an investigation had been launched into two groups of criminals based on a report by PNUSKOK police anti-corruption investigators and information collected in cooperation with several countries as well as EUROJUST and EUROPOL.

USKOK said that the first group of criminals consisted of ten members aged 36-63 while the other group had four members aged 29-41.

According to media reports, the 10-member group was led by Petar Ćosić aka Šarac, who in 2011 was arrested in an operation called Dogma for smuggling 339 kilograms of cocaine and was sentenced to four years in prison.

The other, four-member group, consisting of Marko Grunov, Ivan Stilinović, Tomislav Kljaić and Amer Draganović, is suspected of smuggling cocaine from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

The 10-member group is suspected of smuggling at least 609 kilograms of cocaine, sold for more than HRK 17 million. Some members of the group are suspected of smuggling automatic weapons, grenades, plastic explosive and pistols from Bosnia and Herzegovina to France and of smuggling 17 migrants from Croatia to Slovenia.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Court Rejects Appeals by Suspects in Software Case Against Investigative Detention

ZAGREB, 8 Dec, 2021 - The Zagreb County Court on Tuesday rejected appeals by the suspects in the Software case against the investigative detention order, Hina learned from sources close to the investigation.

The court ruled that former Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Gabrijela Žalac, former Central Finance and Contracting Agency (SAFU) director Tomislav Petric and IT company owners Mladen Šimunac and Marko Jukić would remain in custody.

They are under investigation by the European Public Prosecutor's Office on suspicion of defrauding the European Union and Croatia of €1.8 million.

Žalac is suspected of fixing the public procurement of an information system for strategic planning and development management for the companies owned by Šimunić and Jukić. The suspects concluded a harmful deal under which the price of the IT system was increased several times over to HRK 13.4 million (€1.8m) to the detriment of the financial interests of the EU and Croatia.

The court meets on Friday to discuss the prosecution motion to extend investigative detention for two months.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.


Sunday, 5 December 2021

Francišković Remanded in Custody, Kovačević Released

ZAGREB, 5 Dec, 2021 - A Zagreb County Court investigating judge ordered on Saturday evening that Marko Francišković be remanded in custody on suspicion of public incitement to terrorism, while Natko Kovačević was released pending completion of the investigation.

Kovačević was ordered to report to a police station once a week.

The State Attorney's Office earlier demanded investigative custody for the two suspects after launching an investigation into their role in public incitement to terrorism at recent demonstrations against COVID passes.

Prosecutors claim that Francišković and Kovaćević," dissatisfied with the work of state authorities, acted with the aim of seriously undermining the fundamental constitutional, political, economic and social structures of the Republic of Croatia."

The suspects attended unlawful protest rallies where they spoke against measures undertaken by the national COVID-19 crisis management team to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and posted footage of those rallies and other statements on online platforms.

Prosecutors also say that the suspects called on citizens to physically attack other persons, including government and parliament officials, to occupy the HRT public broadcaster and other public facilities and infrastructure, and to use violence to overthrow the present constitutional order and democratically elected government.

For Croatia's latest news, CLICK HERE.


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Zagreb County Court Orders Investigative Custody For Mamić Brothers

ZAGREB, 23 June, 2021 - A Zagreb County Court investigative judge decided on Wednesday that Zdravko and Zoran Mamić should be remanded in custody, which once it becomes final, will serve as the basis to request their extradition from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hina learned from the court.

The remand order was issued due to flight risk and risk of repeating the crime, Judge Krešimir Devčić told Hina.

He added that a panel of judges had upheld an appeal by the USKOK anti-corruption office against an earlier ruling which rejected the custody request. Once today's ruling becomes final it will serve as the basis for Croatia to request that the Mamić brothers be extradited to Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina pursuant to an agreement between the two countries that entered into force in 2014, Devčić explained.

On 10 June the investigative judge rejected USKOK's request to arrest the fugitive Mamić brothers because warrants for their arrest had already been issued and custody had been set in other cases against them.

Businessmen to remain in custody, judges released on bail

With regard to the other suspects in this case, the court confirmed on Monday that Osijek County Court Judge Darko Krušlin was released on bail while Judge Zvonko Vekić and Osijek businessman Drago Tadić were still behind bars.

A third suspect, Judge Ante Kvesić, had also been remanded in custody. He did not appeal against the decision and a final ruling has ordered disciplinary action against him, removing him from his judicial duties. As there was no cause to keep him detained, Kvesić was released on bail on Monday.

USKOK launched an investigation into the six suspects for giving and accepting bribes and influence peddling.

Krušlin is charged with accepting an Audemars Piguet watch in exchange for interceding for Mamić during the trial against him before the Osijek County Court.

USKOK said that in the period from April 2017 to 21 May 2019 Zdravko Mamić, at the time an indictee in several cases that also included his brother and other indictees, met with Judge Vekić in Zagreb, Osijek, Banja Luka, Široki Brijeg and Dubai. Mamić gave Vekić a total of at least €370,000 for him and the other two judges.

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

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Zoran Mamić Released From Custody, Has to Report to Bosnian Police Once a Week

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - Former Dinamo football  coach Zoran Mamić will remain free while in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, he will have to report to the police once a week and his personal documents have been temporarily confiscated, the court in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided on Wednesday.

Zoran Mamić was arrested early Wednesday morning by officers from the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) based on an arrest warrant issued against him in Croatia.

After that Mamić was handed over to the court in Sarajevo, Judge Branko Perić determined his status including his citizenship of BiH. The judge ruled that Mamić would remain free with precautionary measures and was ordered to give in his personal identification documents.

The court did not discuss the matter of Mamić's extradition considering that Croatia has not sent a formal request yet.

A Croatian Supreme Court ruling upheld a ruling sentencing Mamić to four years and eight months in prison after being convicted of siphoning money from the Dinamo Football Club.

After that he escaped to BiH and requested that he be allowed to serve his sentence in that country which was rejected. Zagreb County Court then issued an international arrest warrant against him.

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

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Newspaper: Gov't Will Have to Increase Teachers' Salaries by 6%?

ZAGREB, Dec 19, 2020 - The Supreme Court has dismissed a motion to review a Zagreb County Court ruling in favour of a Geology Institute employee who sued her employer over the non-payment of a base pay rise under an agreement dating back to the Ivo Sanader cabinet, Jutarnji List reported on Saturday.

This means the state risks being sued by many public sector employees which would cost the budget by over HRK 2 billion if the government does not reach an agreement with the unions which have already filed pilot lawsuits, all of which have been ruled in their favour, the daily said.

The pilot lawsuits have been filed over the non-payment of a 6% base pay rise in 2016 to which the Sanader cabinet committed in 2006. The global financial crisis followed, and the government and unions agreed in 2011 that the base pay would rise by 6% annually when GDP increased by 2% or more year on year over two consecutive quarters.

Said increase occurred in 2015, yet the government and the State Bureau of Statistics claimed that the GDP increase had not gone up by 2% but that, for the first time, they rounded it up to four decimals and that the increase was therefore 1.9998%.

That was when the first pilot lawsuits were filed. The Preporod union claims that 400 have been ruled in workers' favour and that 170,000 public sector employees could eventually benefit from this. Courts have awarded them amounts ranging from HRK 5,500 to 9,000.

On September 3, the education ministry ordered schools to initiate reviews if they lost the lawsuits. The ministry's position is that the prerequisites for applying the 2006 agreement were not met, given that it stipulates the deferral of the rise by as many quarters as GDP decreased, and that the rise therefore should have occurred only in January 2019, the newspaper said.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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.