Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) vice-chairman and Parliament Deputy Speaker Milijan Brkic on Tuesday morning gave his deposition at the chief state prosecutor office (DORH) in Zagreb in an investigation about allegations of his involvement in the reported leaks of information in a 2011 police investigation into elite prostitution.
Brkic has been named in articles published by Nacional weekly recently, citing a file documenting an internal affairs investigation which had discovered that confidential information was leaked to suspects in the case. At the time, Brkic served as deputy chief of police.
Although the interior ministry said the file had been forwarded to the state prosecutor's office in 2011, the current chief state prosecutor Drazen Jelenic said last week that the file is now nowhere to be found and announced efforts to reconstruct the case file - although he also dismissed media speculations of a cover up.
However, Jelenic confirmed on Friday that the 2011 file on information leaks during the prostitution ring investigation that had gone missing from the Zagreb municipal prosecutor's office "is currently being treated as negligence in procedure and that it is necessary to determine whether this was done deliberately."
As part of Jelenic's internal control, Brkic himself and former Zagreb municipal prosecutor Zeljka Pokupec would both be called in to testify. Pokupec has in the meantime left the prosecutor's office and is currently faced with charges of currying favours for the Zagreb police director's son while she was still in office.
Meanwhile, Brkic kept denying any wrongdoing, and has insisted that the scandal is targeting him as part of internal fighting in the ruling HDZ party.
After being interrogated on Tuesday morning, Brkic said "it was sad" to see the media blame him for attempts to undermine a police investigation which eventually resulted in arrests and in a court conviction.
"I can understand your need to have some information, but you have to understand that I cannot in any way divulge the contents of the talks," Brkic said after being interrogated as a witness by prosecutors.
"I can only say that it is absurd and even sad that after having coordinated the whole police operation as deputy police chief, which eventually resulted in arrests and court convictions, I am being called again now to give statements about those circumstances, and that I am being suspected of compromising the operation. If I had wanted to compromise the operation, then the operation would not have been conducted at all," Brkic said.
He also said that he was in contact with Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic "on a permanent, daily basis" but added that he could not divulge the contents of their conversations.