The decision to launch an investigation into former construction minister Darko Horvat and other suspects, including Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic, has become final, state agency Hina learned from sources at the Zagreb County Court on Tuesday.
The decision on the investigation, launched by the USKOK anti-corruption office, has become final after the court rejected appeals against its launching, submitted by three persons faced with charges in this case – state secretary at the Regional Development Ministry Velimir Zunac, the head of the ministry’s department for areas of special state concern, Karica Miskovic, and former minister Tomislav Tolusic, court spokesman Kresimir Devcic told Hina.
Hovat and Milosevic did not appeal against the investigation and neither did Horvat’s former assistant Ana Mandac.
Milosevic waiting for call to be interviewed by USKOK
Milosevic’s attorney Anto Nobilo told Hina on Tuesday that his client had still not received a call from USKOK for an interview. He did not want to speculate when Milosevic could be interviewed by prosecutors but noted that according to previous practice, persons facing charges were usually interviewed after witnesses.
Nobilo had said earlier that Milosevic did not consider himself responsible and had not done anything illegal, having worked for the benefit of his electorate.
Horvat, the only one in the case to spend 10 days in custody, is suspected of having unlawfully allocated, in his capacity as economy minister, together with Mandac, at the time his assistant, and at the instigation of the four other suspects, HRK 2.6 million in grants to business entities, including those in which he had a personal interest.
Mandac said grants allocated contrary to law
According to media reports, Horvat was arrested after his former assistant Mandac, a suspect in another case, testified before USKOK investigators that the grants in question had been allocated by disregarding the relevant criteria, of which they had been warned by the competent services.
Horvat, however, maintains that he only signed the documents brought to him by Mandac.
This case also resulted in an investigation into Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic, who is suspected by USKOK of having ensured preferential treatment for two candidates for employment in 2018 and 2019, when he was at the helm of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO).
Even though the government had to strip him of immunity from criminal prosecution, Aladrovic, just like Milosevic, has remained in his post, which is the first time that two serving government officials are under investigation.