Rijeka County Court investigating judge Ksenija Zorc on Thursday ruled that six suspects in the Uljanik case should be remanded in investigative custody for two more months.
The judge made the decision in the absence of the suspects and their attorneys who walked out of the courtroom dissatisfied that she had announced a decision on the extension of investigative custody without having suspended all activities in the case, which is what they requested in a motion for her exemption. The attorneys left the courtroom and the suspects returned to prison, after which the judge ruled on the extension of investigative custody.
According to unofficial information from prosecutorial circles, since the eight-day deadline has expired within which the judge was to have decided on the attorneys' appeal against her decision to launch an investigation in this case, the Rijeka County Prosecutor's Office can start with evidence-gathering actions, including the questioning of witnesses, of whom there are currently 47.
Attorneys for the six suspects today filed a motion for Judge Zorc's exemption saying that the main reason for the motion was that Zorc had a decision in writing extending their clients' investigative custody already on Wednesday, before the suspects and their attorneys could give their statements at an extraordinary hearing she failed to call. They also said she failed to make a decision that would make an earlier decision on the investigation in the case final.
The attorneys also asked that Rijeka County Court Veljko Miskulin and his deputy Filka Pejkovic be exempted as well for failing to ensure an orderly process of legal proceedings in the case.
The six suspects behind bars are former Uljanik Group Management Board chair Gianni Rossanda, former Uljanik Group Management Board members Marinko Brgic and Veljko Grbac, former 3. Maj dock Board chair Maksimilijan Percan, former Uljanik Plovidba director Dragutin Pavletic, and former Uljanik shipyard director Silvan Kranjc.
On March 28 they were placed in 30-day investigative custody to prevent possible witness tampering. The 30-day detention for the six suspects expires on April 26.
Along with the six men, also suspected in this case are eight other persons as well as the Uljanik Plovidba company.
They are suspected of business abuse and state aid fraud in the Uljanik and 3. Maj shipyards whereby the two docks and the state budget were defrauded of HRK 1.2 billion.