Report: Ex-Croatian president suspected of taking bribes

Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić and former Đuro Đaković company director Bartol Jerković are suspected of taking bribes from a Finnish company.

Source: Tanjug, Globus

Mesić and Jerković are believed to have arranged and taken bribes through middlemen for their involvement in the procurement of armored vehicles from the Patria company.

The Zagreb-based weekly Globus is reporting that it was able to receive confirmation of this from Finland's chief state prosecutor, Juka Rappe, and Chief Inspector of the National Bureau of Investigations Kaj Erik Bjorkqvist. They are considered to be "key" officials in the Patria corruption case.

The state prosecutor was quoted as saying that Finnish judicial bodies will not take any legal action against the Croatian citizens, and that this was instead the duty of the Croatian State Prosecutor's Office, i.e., Prosecutor Mladen Bajić.

The Finnish investigation into the case that concerns Croatia was completed in June, and based on it former Patria CEO Jorma Wiitakorpi and two managers of the company were charged with promising or giving bribes in Croatia.

Last week a Finnish court combined the trial related to Croatia with that concerning Slovenia, where criminal activities were also taking place. A few months ago former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša was found guilty in the Patria case and sentenced in the first instance to two years in jail.

The middlemen for Croatia and Slovenia were Austrian lobbyists Hans-Wolfgang Riedl and Walter Wolf. Riedl stood trial in Vienna for bribing Slovenian citizens and was sentenced to three years in prison, while Wolf has fled to Canada, and has an international warrant issued for his arrest.

Meanwhile in Croatia, the country's Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) in the spring of 2012 requested from the Ministry of Defense and the Office of the President all documents related to the business dealings with the Finnish company.

Some of the seven members of a commission that managed the procurement of military vehicles have confirmed for Globus that they were questioned early this year, and that this was the last known information about the activities of USKOK and the Prosecutor in this case.

The weekly spoke to its sources in Finland who confirmed that they were "eagerly awaiting the final investigation report from Croatia," which Kaj Erik Bjorkqvist expects "as soon as possible."

Stjepan Mesić on Wednesday denied the accusation by saying that "the intelligence underground" was behind the media reports.


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Region Monday, October 28, 2013 13:22 Comments: 0
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