Investigation into HDZ

DORH dismisses claim that investigation into HDZ is politically motivated

01.11.2011 u 16:00


The Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) has dismissed media claims that it is making politically motivated decisions, underlining that its decisions, including the one on opening an investigation into the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) as a legal entity, are based on relevant laws and its legal obligations.

Commenting on an article in a Croatian weekly on Tuesday, DORH said the author's conclusion that by launching a probe into the HDZ, DORH and the anti-corruption investigative agency USKOK have joined in the election campaign, is owing to the journalist's not being familiar with relevant legislation and that it is a flagrant case of politicisation of DORH's work.

DORH's statement, released on its web site, says that it is only in the last two months that the investigation into the Fimi Media case has turned up evidence that some of the money siphoned off in that case was used for the HDZ's needs, at the time when the then Prime Minister Ivo Sanader was also HDZ chief. It notes that under legislation on the accountability of legal entities for criminal offences, DORH has the duty to launch proceedings both against the responsible person and the legal entity involved.

"The claim that 'with their move, only a month before parliamentary elections, (Chief State Prosecutor) Mladen Bajic and (USKOK chief) Dinko Cvitan have joined the election campaign in a very unfair manner, but that it has not benefitted the (centre-left) opposition coalition' is a case of politicisation of DORH and USKOK, which, as institutions prosecuting crime, act in line with the Constitution and law," the statement says among other things.

"The reason for said allegations, as well as for the allegation that by ordering an investigation into the HDZ as a legal entity DORH is trying to curry favour with the prospective new government, is the lack of knowledge of legislation on criminal procedure and the accountability of responsible persons for criminal offences, which determines DORH's conduct."

"As is well known, the Fimi Media case, in which an order was made to open an investigation against M.B., the responsible person in the Fimi Media company N.J., and several other persons from other companies, was opened roughly a year and a half ago, and the time when the case was opened determines conduct in the case because investigations must be completed within a period of 18 months even in the most complicated cases, otherwise DORH is considered to have dropped the case.

"The order to investigate the HDZ treasurer M.B. and others was made because there was reason to suspect abuse to the detriment of the said company, and it is only evidential procedure that has revealed that abuse was committed on orders from and in collusion with the then Prime Minister I.S., against whom an investigation was ordered on the suspicion that he abused his powers (as Prime Minister) for personal gain and for the purpose of helping others obtain gain.

"It is only in the last two months that the investigation in the case has turned up evidence showing, beyond any doubt, that some of the (siphoned) money was used for the HDZ's needs, at the time when I.S. was also HDZ chief. It was only after evidence was obtained about the acquisition of gain for the legal entity that DORH had the obligation to launch proceedings against the legal entity since under the law, a legal entity is responsible for the criminal act of a responsible person if by that act the legal entity obtained material gain," DORH said in the statement among other things.

The Fimi Media case refers to the alleged syphoning of funds from state-owned companies, agencies and government ministries through the privately-owned marketing firm Fimi Media. Some of the money is suspected to have ended up in the HDZ's slush fund. Media named the suspects in the case as former HDZ president Ivo Sanader, former treasurer Mladen Barisic, former accountant Branka Pavosevic, former secretary-general Ivan Jarnjak, and former spokesman Ratko Macek who managed the party's election campaigns apparently using money from the slush fund.