In another bizarre scandal shaking the nation, Croatian weekly Nacional published what it described as doctored photos of Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolusic in incriminating situations created by unnamed authors and intended to be leaked to the media for nefarious purposes.
But luckily, the newspaper said, the scheme was prevented by the state intelligence agency SOA.
The fake pictures published by Nacional show a man resembling Tolusic enjoying the company of a prostitute and using cocaine in what looks like a hotel room. The newspaper said that the anonymous source which passed them the photos claimed they were real, but that a detailed analysis by SOA's experts established that they are indeed fake.
Although neither Nacional nor any other media offered any information on who might be behind the doctored photos or what they stood to gain from passing them on to the press, the furore on Tuesday forced the government to issue a press release in which it described the alleged attempt at discrediting Tolusic as "yet another extremely insidious attempt to destabilise the government and the legal order."
The government added that it now expected the police and the state prosecutor to investigate the case and find out who the mysterious would-be perpetrators of attempted scandal are.
When asked about the case in a pre-scheduled news conference later on Tuesday, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said he had no details on who or why was behind the pictures obviously targeting Tolusic, but emphasised that the government "would not allow such compromising material to cause destabilisation" of itself.
"Such attempts to destabilise the individual and institutions he (Tolusic) represents do not affect national security... The ongoing investigation would discover who was the mastermind of the fake photos of Tolusic," the state news agency Hina quoted Bozinovic as saying.