Convicted Dinamo Zagreb coach Zoran Mamic joins fugitive brother in Bosnia

NEWS 19.04.2021 19:36
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Source: Dubravka Petric/PIXSELL

Former Dinamo Zagreb football club coach, Zoran Mamic, who was convicted in a Croatian court of siphoning money from the club, appeared on Monday in neighboring Bosnia, saying that he wanted to serve his prison term of four years and eight months in that country.

Mamic is currently in Bosnia, where he joined his brother and former football mogul Zdravko Mamic – who was also sentenced in the same case, to six and a half years in jail. They were both convicted for taking part in a scheme to siphon 116 million kuna (€15 million) from the club through illegal post-dated contracts with players transferred abroad.

Both brothers hold dual citizenship of Croatia and Bosnia, and Zdravko had already successfully fought extradition to Croatia. He is believed to be based in Medjugorje, a pilgrim town made famous for apparitions of Virgin Mary.

Zoran Mamic said that he had sent a request to Zagreb County Court to be allowed to serve his sentence in Bosnia, and that he had informed the Ministry of Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina of his desire to serve his sentence in Bosnia.

“I have submitted all the necessary details to the relevant ministry in Bosnia regarding my whereabouts and my undoubted willingness to be subject to Bosnia’s laws and to appear before the relevant bodies and relevant courts in Bosnia when summoned, after the legal proceedings have been launched,” Zoran Mamic said in a statement sent to the media.

Although it remains unclear whether this is legally possible, Mamic added that his request is “based on the law in Croatia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and international conventions” which, Mamic says, clearly “distinguish his current legal status from the status of a fugitive.”

Mamic insists that he is not a fugitive from justice, but merely exercising his rights as a dual citizen of Croatia and Bosnia.

“I recall that I made my decision after the State Judicial Council in Zagreb had suspended the judges who ruled in my case, and I hope that regardless of my name, I have the right to a just and fair trial,” said Mamic. Both Zdravko and Zoran claim that the whole case had been fabricated and that they are victims of persecution.

Zoran Mamic said he had submitted an appeal to Croatia’s Constitutional Court and added that he hopes that “a decision will be delivered in a reasonable time.”

His brother and former Dinamo football club boss, Zdravko Mamic, said in Mostar in March that he was willing to serve his sentence in Bosnia and Herzegovina only – but “only if a decision to that effect is made.”

Zdravko had fled to Bosnia in June 2018, the day before the announcement of the verdict sentencing him to six and a half years in prison. Although sentenced in the same trial, Zoran was allowed to remain free until his appeals are decided in higher instance courts. During that time, Zoran – a former footballer who was a member of the Croatia national team which won bronze in the 1998 World Cup –  continued to coach Dinamo Zagreb.

On 15 March 2021, Croatia’s Supreme Court upheld the Osijek County Court ruling sentencing both Zdravko Mamics. The original prison sentence for Zoran Mamic was reduced from four years and 11 months to four years and eight months, and former tax official Milan Pernar who was also involved in the scheme also received a reduced sentence, from four years and two months to three years and two months.

The Supreme Court also upheld the first-instance verdict for former Dinamo director, Damir Vrbanovic, who was sentenced to three years in prison.

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