PM Plenkovic: There is nothing illegal in Dalic's e-mails

NEWS 10.05.2018 10:10
Source: N1

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic commented on Thursday the Economy Minister Martina Dalic's leaked e-mails on the drafting of the controversial Lex Agrokor, saying there was nothing illegal in them, and adding that Dalic had been given an award for this piece of legislation.

On Thursday morning a meeting of the club of the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) MPs was held, attended by the party’s leader and Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic.

After the meeting, Plenkovic was asked to comment on the leaked e-mails published on Wednesday by the website which show that Economy Minister Martina Dalic had drafted a controversial bill on state’s takeover of “systemically important companies” after privately consulting executives of private companies.

“Croatia’s entire economy was threatened by a crisis. For me as Prime Minister, the overall interests of Croatia was the top priority. That is the goal we wanted to achieve, and that goal has been achieved,” Plenkovic said.

The law, dubbed Lex Agrokor in the media, was passed in April last year and allowed the government to appoint emergency managers in the privately-owned indebted food and retail group Agrokor, the biggest private company in Croatia which at the time employed some 60,000 people across the region.

“What I care about is Croatia’s financial and economic situation,” Plenkovic added, and refused to answer if this was a case where the end justified the means.

“No, no, that’s what you are saying… What’s important is to achieve the goal. We avoided having a crisis of huge proportion, this was the goal we worked to achieve,” Plenkovic added.

The law was criticised by the media ever since its adoption, and especially its provisions which allowed the state-appointed crisis manager Ante Ramljak to hire his former consultancy to advise in the restructuring of Agrokor. Amid media allegations, Ramljak resigned in February 2018.

Opposition MPs had also filed a no-confidence motion against Minister Dalic in March – also serving as Deputy Prime Minister – accusing her of drafting the bill in a non-transparent way, and opening the space for conflict of interest. Although the motion failed, there were renewed calls for her to resign on Wednesday.

“I don’t see anything new (in these e-mails), except the same accusations we have been hearing for months… You are now hounding Deputy Prime Minister (Dalic), and she had been given an award recognising it (Lex Agrokor) as the best decision in 2017,” Plenkovic replied, referring to the award for the Business Event of the Year handed to Dalic in December 2017 by a panel of experts and business journalists.

“I don’t see any nefarious intentions in the gist of these (e-mails), or anything illegal,” Plenkovic told reporters.

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