Croatia: Corruption and Money Laundering Scandal in Pictures — Hypo Alpe Adria Bank

25 04 2013

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Croatia: Corruption and Money Laundering Scandal in Pictures — Hypo Alpe Adria Bank

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Domagoj Margetic, a EU Parliament Speech re Croatian Corruption & Money Laundering (4/23/13)

23 04 2013

When I was just a teenager, my father, who was a COO at Privredna Banka Zagreb came home one day proclaiming that he has no other choice but to quit his job as an executive.  “The rulling party is making me sign illegal papers transferring large amounts of money,” he said in early 1991.   He quit his job that winter.  By June 1991, there was a civil war in the Former Yugoslavia.   Some other coworkers of his did not quit their jobs, and this is what begun happening in Croatia.

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Please watch Domagoj Margetic’s speech and questions and answers session on this day, April 23, 2013.  This is the day, when the sun started shining and wrongs were unveiled.

Speech at the European Parliament, on April 23, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/embed/IzkSjogx1hE

Questions & Answers Session at the European Parliament, on April 23, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/embed/C7lvsZFBxDo





Hypo Group Alpe Adria Bank – Scandals that Encompassed the Bank from its Inception to 2007 – Money Laundering, Inside Trading and Links to Ultra-Right Wing Nationalism

9 04 2013

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I have been reading Domagoj Margetic’s book called “Banking Mafia” (2008) describing the money laundering that took place after the collapse of the Former Yugoslavia.  A big player in this scandal was Hypo Group Alpe Adria bank.  As somewhat versed in financial language, reading in Margetic’s book about € 100 billion of money laundered from Croatia and Serbia, completely affected destruction of the financial banking system in the Former Yugoslavia before, during and after the split of the country.  It was also a big enough of a figure to enrich the 200 Croatian political elite families allowing them to capitalize some of their private ventures in the region.  This is what economists would call ‘transition of wealth’ from socialist into capitalist hands, a term not  exempt to irony, mostly because the money that was stolen came from employee-owned companies and employees whose lives were stripped from their own retirement packages, etc.  € 100 billion was a big enough of a chunk, to continue to enquire more about Hypo Group Alpe Adria, and who originated these operations, helped during origination and made some serious profits.  The most concerning in this whole money laundering scheme is a strong connection to arms-dealing and ultra-right wing nationalism which continues among masses as the feeding frenzy in Croatia, today.

Six Mega Fraudsters

Behind the scandal hide six mega fraudsters, who have together or separately brought down the Asian banking crisis in Thailand in 1997, have been an international marketing arm of Lockheed and were involved in Iran Contra scandal in the United States, and have continued working together worldwide (some of them still live in California, U.S.) to execute deceptive deals annually, each generating millions of U.S. Dollars – often working in conjunction with company management and CEOs.  Those men are:

  • Regis Possino, U.S.citizen
  • Amador Pastrana, Filipino citizen
  • Sherman Mazur, U.S. citizen
  • Raoul Berthaumieu, a Canadian citizen of Belgian origin
  • Adnan Khashoggi, Saudia Arabian citizen
  • Rakesh Saxena, Indian citizen

The Hypo Group Alpe Adria

The Hypo Group Alpe Adria (HGAA) is an Austrian banking group with numerous cross-border activities in eight (8) countries of the Alps-Adriatic region.  Its network of branches and offices extends from Austria through Italy and Liechtenstein, from Slovenia through Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary and Germany on to Brussels.  Hypo Group Alpe Adria aims to become the leading commercial bank in the Alps-Adriatic region.

There are three strategic business sectors of the Hypo Group—banking, leasing and consulting. The Group’s owner share includes: 100% Republic of Austria.

Much of the below research, often word-for-word, is taken from Nachrichten Heute (click on the link to follow to the source, and I own no rights to neither research nor to the attached picture found on the web).  Dates have been checked, and in certain instances, more details have been added.

In May 2007 the BayernLB (owned by the German State of Bavaria) bought 50% plus one share (controlling stake) of HGAA, Austria’s fifth largest bank, for € 1.63 billion.  The majority shareholderin the BayernLB was up to then the Austrian county of Carinthia/Kaernten, whose governor was Joerg Haider, ultra-right winger and well known for his praise of Adolf Hitler’s labor market policies and his derogatory remarks about foreigners as well as asylum seekers.

When in 2000 his Party, the FPOe or so called Liberal Party of Austria, formed a coalition government with the OeVP, Israel recalled its ambassador from Vienna and the European Union reduced its contacts to Austria to a minimum.

In early 2008 it was revealed that BayernLB had made large losses due to investments in sub-prime mortgage securities in the United States.  Although the extent of these investments has been the topic of speculation, it was revealed from the company’s Second Quarter (Q2) 2008 financial report that over €24 billion had been invested in critical securities, with losses of €2.3 billion in 2007 and a further €2 billion in the first quarter of 2008.  On December 14, 2009, BayernLB, Kärntner Landesholding and Grazer Wechselseitige Versicherung, sold their stakes in the bank to Austrian government for one Euro each.  HGAA was nationalized by the Austrian government to avert a bank collapse.

Hypo Group Alpe Adria, however, was not a stranger to controversies since its inception.

Let’s Start in the U.S. in the year 1993

A man by the name Robert “Bud” McFarlane, security adviser to former US President Ronald Reagan at the time of the Iran-Contra scandal (resigned in 1985, convicted and pardoned by President George H.W. Bush on Christmas Eve 1992 along with the other key players in the scandal, during the lame duck period of Bush’s presidency) and was at that time an adviser to the mercenary company AEGIS Defence Services, headed by Tim Spicer, on a Pentagon contract in Iraq, was with others founding a bank by the name of Czech Industries. The company was in 1996 merged with a company Eastbrokers International, in which a certain Wolfgang Koessner from Vienna became a shareholder.

Wolfgang Koessner brought with him a Bank in Austria by the name of WMP AG, which was now merged with Eastbrokers to be named Global Capital Partners.  However disagreement led Koessner to disengage from Global Capital Partners and after the Global Capital Partners issued more shares, Koessner lost control of the WMP Bank and became a minority shareholder. Noteworthy is the fact, that Czech Industries was majority-owned by Stratton Oakmont, a broker house that was closed by the Securities and Exchange Commission because of fraud.

Minority shareholder at the WMP-Bank, that was now renamed “General Commerce Bank,” was as well the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank.  Koessner did a lot of work to establish the relationship with this bank, before he lost control at the WMP.  As a result, Hypo Alpe Adria Bank sold shares and bonds of Global Capital partners to its customers, worthless shares as it would turn out and many of the customers were at that time suing the bank.

A Crack Crew Arrives

Wolfgang Koessner, no longer in control, had to witness a “turnaround.”  A crack crew appeared in 2000 at the WMP Bank for a “turnaround”, however not for better, but for worse. The crack crew comprised:

  • Regis Possino, former US lawyer, who was arrested after he tried to sell in 1978 Cocaine to undercover agents.  He tried also to land a deal over the monthly sale of Cocaine at a street valued at US$680,000.  He tried to sell stolen bonds to the public, and was arrested during his trial because he tried to influence one member of the jury.  Possino was disbarred as a lawyer in 1984 because of his criminal record.  In 1996, he was again sentenced for stock fraud.
  • Amador Pastrana, Filipino king of the “boiler rooms”. He allegedly commandeered at least 100 boiler rooms, offices, where fraudulent telemarketing of worthless shares is organized from.
  • Sherman Mazur, US citizen, convicted in 1993 in Arkansas for severe check fraud and sentenced to five (5) years imprisonment. Mazur allegedly authorized, while in prison, Amador Pastrana to continue with his fraudulent activities.
  • Raoul Berthaumieu, a Canadian of Belgian origin, alias Raoul Berthamieu, alias Lee Sanders, convicted for check fraud in the US in 1991, met in prison Sherman Mazur, who allegedly taught him there a thing or two.
  • Adnan Khashoggi, international arms dealer and fraudster, involved in the Iran-Contra Scandal. While irrelevant for this research, Adnan Khashoggi’s sister Samira Khashoggi Fayed married Mohammed Al-Fayed and was the mother of Dodi Fayed.  At some point, Adnan Khashoggi was for practical purposes considered to be a marketing arm of Lockheed.
  • Rakesh Saxena, Indian, international megafraudster, allegedly committed fraud at the Bangkok Bank of Commerce in the 1990s, together with the then CEO Krirkiat Jalichandra, to the tune of US$2.2 billion and thus triggering the Asian Banking Crisis in 1997.  Saxena fled with allegedly US$88 million “pocket money” to Canada and continuing his fraudulent activities there from self-paid house arrest.  Extradition procedures to Thailand (Thailand wanted him) lasted until 2009.

This crack crew, with Saxena under house arrest via the phone, allegedly turned the WMP/General Commerce Bank in 2000 into a boiler room, with the fraud allegedly amounting to US$ 1 billion within 1 year.

Dr. Kulterer, CEO of Hypo Adria until 2006, trusted Berthaumieu, the convicted fraudster, according to information he received from the police (The local police station?) an honest man! The Hypo Alpe Adria Bank gave Berthaumieu several loans and tasked him to sort out “problems” at the General Commerce Bank.

In late 2000, Berthamieu introduced Adnan Khashoggi to Dr. Kulterer and his team.  A couple of months later, reacting to pressure from the FBI and SEC, the General Commerce Bank was closed by the Austrian authorities.  One would expect that the day for departure or better sacking of CEO of Hypo Adria, Dr. Kulterer had arrived by now, however the clocks in Haider’s Kaernten/Carinthia were ticking in a different way.

A Friend, a Good Friend

Kaernten/Carinthia was, as already mentioned, the biggest shareholder of Hypo Alpe Adria bank. And the Governor (Landeshauptmann) of Kaernten/Carinthia is Joerg Haider.  Haider praised Dr. Kulterer as “Visionary” and “Austria’s Best Bank Manager.”  Kulterer in return gave a loan to Haider’s then party, the FPOe, for expected election expenses with terms through 2013.  Obviously the voters in Kaernten were “owners” of his party and were going to serve as collateral.  Kulterer accompanied Haider on his trip to Libya in 2000 meeting with Gaddafi, when Libya and Gaddafi were still part of the “axis of evil”.

Ed Fagan Comes on Stage

In 2003, however, Ed Fagan, U.S. star-lawyer entered the stage and took CEO Kulterer and his Bank to court.  He accused them of insider trading, fraud and falsifying balance sheets. Kulterer in return lodged a complaint with the state prosecutor in Austria, accusing Ed Fagan of blackmail.

14 Days in 2004

In 2004, Dr. Kulterer could prove, what a ‘visionary’ he was.  His bank started trading in Swaps and within 14 days lost €328 million.  His bank managers then allegedly tried to hide the loss in the balance sheet by stretching it over several years, a criminal act which came under the spotlight in a parliamentary subcommittee of the Austrian parliament. And he allegedly informed the supervisory board only six (6) months later.

And when the bank ran short of the legally required capital, the bank allegedly issued shares and sold them to customers, giving them at the same time loans in order to buy them, the loan supplied from a subsidiary of the bank in Liechtenstein, re-routing then the money via Virgin Islands back to Austria – a carousel as a money-spinner.

Dr. Kulterer had to vacate his position as CEO however was immediately installed as head of the Supervisory Board, the ‘visionary’ became the controller.  Haider wanted to park him there for a while, and then put him back as CEO. And Kulterer was, in view of his performance at the Hypo Alpe offered and he accepted the job of the head of the Flick Foundation and the manager of the Flick money.

As a remainder: Friedrich Flick was a convicted war criminal in the Nuremberg trials and later he became a billionaire and one of the richest, if not the richest man in post-war Germany.

His son, Friedrich Karl Flick, regarded the inheritance tax, which his heirs once would have to pay as too high in Germany and hence, he emigrated lock stock barrel before his death to Austria.

A Former Croatian General

In February 2007, the former Croatian General Vladimir Zagorek was arrested in Vienna on request of the Croatian government.  He is accused of embezzlement of state money and money laundering. He was a prominent customer of the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank, which is now also under investigation for alleged money laundering.

That year, the weekly DIE ZEIT reported yet another scandal involving the bank, this time in Istria/Croatia, where large tracks of pristine state land were bought at low prices and then sold with a 200 fold price increase, after the land was subdivided into plots in collusion with the local authorities, many of them now behind bars.

A Bank on Sale

The Hypo Alpe Adria Bank was supposed to be floated on the stock market in 2007, however this became impossible in view of the scandals.  Dr. Kulterer actively looked for a buyer and found the Bavarian “Landesbank” (county bank) 100% owned by the state of Bavaria/Germany as being very interested.

Haider flew on May 16, 2007 to Munich to seal the deal.  He was not only met by the CEO of Bayerische Landesbank, Werner Schmidt, but also by the Bavarian Finance minister Kurt Faltlhauser and Home Affairs Minister and future Prime minister of Bavaria, Guenther Beckstein.  They did, what the European Union refused to do, to negotiate with and thus uplifting the reputation of Haider.  And they were not only meeting him, but also exploring ways to strengthen the ties between Bavaria and Kaernten.

Insider Trading?

The sale of the Bank went ahead not without another suspected scandal: Insider Trading.  An investment Company headed by Tilo Berlin, the Berlin AG, where the Flicks had also invested their money, bought in January, when the negotiations started with Bayerische Landesbank, 4% of the shares, and another 10%, when the negotiations were coming to a close.  These shares were now sold to Bayerische Landesbank with 50% gain, 148 million Euro profit, and cash to carry in less than 6 months. If this is not Insider trading, what is it?  However there are more scandals connected with this bank.

A Jewish Family and a Plot in Belgrade

On April 22, 2005 the Hypo Alpe announced, that they had acquired for €20 million from the state, the prime land in Belgrade’s city center.  What the Hypo Alpe regional representative did not tell was, that this plot had a history.  It was called “Three Tobacco Leaves” and was owned for generations by the Jewish family Galich. Two of the family members were killed in 1944 by the SS when they tried to defend the building against German troops, on the retreat, who wanted to blow up the building, which they eventually did.  Immediately after the Germans had left, the Galich family rebuilt the Three Tobacco Leaves Building, however were later expropriated by the Tito government of Yugoslavia.

The Galich Family Emigrated to the U.S.

The building was eventually torn down by the Milosevic Government of Serbia.  Potential buyers were advised by the Galich family, that they intend to reclaim the plot from the state, and thus no buyers came forward until eventually the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank entered the stage.

Totally disregarding the interests of the Galich family and the history of the plot and its former buildings on it, Hypo Alpe Adria Bank grabbed the plot.  However, protests against this ridiculous grabbing mounted and in May, 2005 several hundred people, some of them Holocaust survivors, demonstrated in front of the Hypo Alpe headquarters in Belgrade.  The local newspapers, reporting about the scandal, asked, whether the Hypo Alpe had learned nothing from the scandal related to the Croatian ski-athlete Ivica Kostelic in 2003.

A Ski Athlete Named Kostelic

Kostelic was sponsored by the Hypo-Alpe Adria Bank, better named Scandalpe or Skandalpe. He became not only famous for his skiing performance, but also for his remarks about Nazi-Germany similar to Joerg Haider, Governor of the Austrian county of Kaernten which owned half of the shares of the Hypo Alpe Bank.  Haider, similar to Kostelic also became famous for his praise of Nazi Germany’s labor policy, recommending it as a good example to Austria’s government.  A few statements of Kostelic in 2003:

  • The Nazi-System was a healthy system for an ambitious person.
  • Before a start to one slalom, he felt well prepared like a German soldier on the 22nd of June in 1941 (the day, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union).
  • The Nazi Regime equals to 2000 years of Roman history, compressed into 12 years.
  • The Communists were worse than the Nazis, because under Nazi rule one could pursue a career.
  • He was excited when watching in a movie the attack of the Nazi air force on Britain, the so called Battle of Britain.

As a remainder: England was at that time alone in its fight against Adolf Hitler’s army.  In a heroic performance the British pilots pushed back Hitler’s air force. Their performance was acknowledged in Churchill’s historic speech in the commons “never before in history owed so many so much to so few”. One would have expected, that the Hypo Alpe Adria bank would have immediately cancelled the sponsorship.  That did not happen.  They were satisfied with a lukewarm apology from Kostelic.

What Happened to the Alleged WMP Criminals?

  • Regis Possino was still in business as of February 2013, a resident of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles (perhaps your neighbor?) when he was charged with 13 others, including Sherman Mazur, for manipulating stock prices, and could face life in prison, for allegedly manipulating stock prices and causing more than 20,000 investors to lose over $30 million.  After the fall of HAA Bank, in 2009, he was with his company “Geneva Equities” on a “roadshow” in Asia and collected US$ 28 million from investors. Geneva Equities was also involved in a fake company by the name of “L-Air” supposedly to be an airline, however its planes never made it to the runway, only the money of the investors flew away-forever.
  • Sherman Mazur was arraigned together with Regis Possino in February 2013, and they were held with no bail, awaiting their trial.  In 2009, Mazur was busy in the United States.  He created a company with his children by the name of “Accu-Poll-Holdings”, and was selling the shares via boiler-rooms, the usual story.
  • As Pacific Palisades Patch reports in February, 2013: “The defendants (referring to Possino and Mazur) are serial market manipulators that executed several deceptive deals per year, each generating several millions of dollars, according to court documents. They often worked in conjunction with company management and CEOs and targeted several industries including the pharmaceutical, green tech, oil and gas development and e-commerce.”
  • Adnan Khashoggi, now close to 80 years old, is allegedly in either the United Arab Emirates or in Monaco and enjoying his retirement.  Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, paid US$ 350 million US Dollars in compensation for share fraud, in which both, Deutsche Bank and Khashoggi were involved, in the GenesisIntermedia scandal.
  • Khashoggi, along with Ramy El-Batrawi, was the principal financier behind GenesisIntermedia, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: GENI), a publicly traded Internet company based in Southern California.  After the September 11 attacks, Khashoggi’s U.S.-based checking accounts were frozen and Khashoggi was unable to make a margin call with Native Nations Securities, whose CEO and largest shareholder, at the time, was Valerie Red-Horse, former office manager of junk bond king Michael Milken.  In turn, Native Nations and Red Horse were unable to meet their obligations on the margin loan to MJK Clearing, Inc.  Trading in the stock of GenesisIntermedia was halted in September 2001.  Khashoggi’s unwillingness to pay his margin loan to Native Nations Securities, and Native Nations (and Red Horse’s) inability to pay its debts to MJK Clearing, began a series of bankruptcies that ended in the largest payout in Securities Investor Protection Corporation history.  Native Nations Securities and MJK Clearing both eventually filed for bankruptcy.
  • Rakesh Saxena was put in prison, pending extradition to Thailand. On October 29, 2009, he was deported to Thailand after fighting the longest extradition battle in Canadian history, which lasted thirteen (13) years.  He is accused of embezzlement in 1994-1995.  He is widely reputed to have been engaged in dozens of high risk ventures and deals throughout the world over the previous three decades.  Saxena has been accused of many things but has not convicted of anything yet.  In India, Saxena has been accused of culpable homicide, extortion, uttering death threats and cheating in the death of biscuit tycoon Rajan Pillai.  Those allegations were laid after the tycoon’s widow, Nina Pillai, accused Saxena and three others of conspiring to kill her husband. Former bank officials in Thailand have claimed that Nina Pillai continued to be financed by Saxena after her husband’s death.
  • The Government of Thailand accuse Saxena embezzling $88 million from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC) and sought his extradition from Canada. The bank had separately filed civil proceedings against Saxena. He has filed a counter-suit.
  • The collapse of the BBC was one of the first dominoes in a financial crisis that spread across Asia, shaking the world economy in 1997. While some blame Saxena for sparking the inferno – The Wall Street Journal described him as the “Mrs. Leary’s cow of the global financial crisis” – he is not facing court action on that score. He is also linked to some of the major hedge fund problems of the late 1990s, particularly problems linked to third world bonds and leveraged currency and interest rate derivatives on such bonds and to problems now associated with Russian and East Europe privatizations of the Yeltsin era.
  • No charges were laid in the ill-fated Sierra Leone affair.  The British Parliament’s Report of the Sierra Leone Arms Investigation concluded that the purchase of weapons with Saxena’s money only technically broke a United Nations embargo and that Canada was not yet enforcing the embargo.
  • Raoul Berthaumieu did not get a good reputation either.  If you put the name of his company, Pacific Federal SA into a search engine, plenty of warnings appear, not to do business with this company. In 2001, Raoul Berthaumieu, was a head of the supervisory board of GenesisIntermedia.




Who is Domagoj Margetic? Celebrating Independent Journalism in Croatia.

4 04 2013

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Many are wondering as to who is Domagoj Margetic. Clicking on his Wikipedia page in Croatia does not help. Wikipedia page has been bugged, and every effort to change the wording on the page has failed.

Domagoj Margetic is a Croatian investigative journalist with a long list of references presented below currently fighting for the protection under law for whistleblowers in Croatia. Domagoj is striking with hunger for 25th day, in hopes that the President of Crotatia Ivo Josipovic will push through the law. It would be a nice thing of the President to do, considering that Croatia is slated to become part of the European Union in July 2013. The President promised to do this exactly one year ago in 2012. Nothing has been done, to date. And why not hold him accountable?

Domagoj Margetic’s biography is hereby enclosed. Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for his cause.

From 2012 to 2013, with whistleblowers, Domagoj Margetic participated in the initiative to pass the legislation related to whistleblower protection in Croatia. The initiative was supported and accepted by the President Ivo Josipovic, at a meeting held on March 20, 2012.

From 2011 to 2013, Domagoj Margetic has been an independent, freelance columnist of regional business portal SEEbiz.eu

In 2012, Domagoj Margetic researched and published the papers on the Hypo Group affair in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 2012, Domagoj Margetic wrote about the corruption and crime in the Croatian Post.

From 2010 through 2012, Domagoj Margetic wrote about crime and corruption in the Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance, Customs and published a feuilleton about the Mafia, which is why he was awarded a prize for fighting corruption by the Independent Union of Customs of Croatia.

Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for Domagoj Margetic’s cause.

From 2006 through 2012, Margetic was a founder and a chief of investigative journalism portal Necenzurirano.com, which, according to Google’s report in 2009, was widely read among the portals in the category of political news web-sites. The research related to Hypo scandal and former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader in 2009 year was the most widely read text on the Internet in Croatia.

In 2011, Domagoj Margetic published a study on the murder of Ivo Pukanic in the book “The Case Pukanic: Murder with a Signature of the State.”

In 2011 Margetic published a book of poems called “I Forgive Heaven your Smile.”

In 2011 Domagoj Margetic was the author of the analysis “Kosovo and the new Balkan Criminal Order.”

In 2010, Margetic researched and published papers on illegal privatization of the tobacco industry in Croatia, Zagreb Tobacco Factory and creation of semi-mafia tobacco monopoly in the Balkans.

In 2010. Margetic researched and wrote a feuilleton about the murder of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

In 2010, as an investigative journalist who was engaged in anti-corruption issues and topics of organized crime, Domagoj Margetic was appointed a member of the project team administrator of Database on Persons Connected with Terrorism and Organized crime TOC Data Base, a project run by two faculties of the University of Belgrade.

In 2010, Margetic published documents on the misappropriation of money in the Croatian Highways (HAC) for building highways in Croatia. The State Attorney’s Office heard the case on corruption.

In 2010 Domagoj Margetic revealed the location of the multi-year hiding of convicted war criminal Miljenko Bajic, who was ultimately arrested and detained for a custodial sentence for war crimes against Serbian prisoners in Lora, Split.

Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for Domagoj Margetic’s cause.

From 2009 through 2011 Margetic published a study on corruption, conflict of interest and links to organized crime of Tomislav Karamarko, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of Croatia.

In 2009, Margetic published in full the Hypo secret file of money laundering through the Hypo Alpe Adria Group.

In 2009, Domagoj Margetic revealed documents which prove the conflict of interest by the Minister of Justice at that time.

In 2008, Domagoj Margetic published documents on the connection between Prime Minister Ivo Sanader with the Hypo affair, which the State Attorney’s Office took over from Margetic in April, 2008. Resultantly, the former prime-minister Ivo Sanader was suspected, accused and convicted for corruption and war profiteering.

From 2008 through 2012, Margetic closely co-operated with Verica Barac, renowned fighter against corruption in Serbia, the longtime president of the Council for the Fight Against Corruption of the Government of Serbia.

Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for Domagoj Margetic’s cause.

From 2004 through 2008, Margetic had been publishing articles, studies and documents about the secret accounts of the Ministry of Finance, through which the money from the State Budget was being drawn.

In 2008, Margetic authored the book “The Banking Mafia” about laundering of money through domestic and foreign banks, previously looted from the Croatian state budget or state-owned enterprises.

In 2008, Domagoj Margetic published a study on the tobacco mafia in Croatia, on the international cigarette smuggling that is connected to Rovinj Tobacco Factory and Adris Group, and at that time a number of documents were published on the topic.

In 2008, Margetic wrote about the case NAMA, transformation- privatization crime in this company and the way the people in that company associated with the government pulled multimillion amounts to private accounts.

In 2008, Domagoj Margetic released documents on international smuggling of nuclear materials through Croatia in the 1990s.

In 2008, Margetic participated in a regional initiative of experts from Serbia, BIH and Croatia in the establishment of the Expert Team of Southeast Europe to combat terrorism and organized crime.

In 2008, Margetic discovered and published secret documents about the secret war affairs of Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

In 2007, Domagoj Margetic published documents about the war crimes of the Croatian police against Serbian civilians in Sisak in years 1991 and 1992, about which Margetic testified at the Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes in Belgrade.

In 2007, Margetic published a study on the secret documents of the Croatian National Bank on the recovery of banks in Croatia, and published secret information on how much the state invested in recovery of the banks from the National budget and compared this data with the data on the amount for which the bank later sold to the new owners.

In 2007, Margetic released a video testimony of the participants of the international cocaine smuggling Croatia and an insider testimony that the General Ivan Cermak smuggled 20 kg of cocaine through Croatia.

In 2007, Margetic published a study on the secret documents of the Croatian National Bank related to the privatization of banks in Croatia.

Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for Domagoj Margetic’s cause.

In 2006, Domagoj Margetic was the author of the book of poems “Exposing.”

In 2006, Domagoj Margetic was the author of the study, “Transition Fraud.”

In 2006, Domagoj Margetic wrote “Journalism Between Crime, Corruption, Prostitution and Media.”

In 2005, Margetic’s books “Who Robbed Croatia” and “The Unauthorized Biography of the Second Croatian President.” The two books were included in the official list of references Berkeley University, East European Department, with titles from Eastern Europe and on Eastern Europe.

In 2004, Domagoj Margetic wrote “The Unauthorized Biography of the Second Croatian president.”

In 2004, Margetic exposed the secret documents of the national oil industry, INA’s, on international smuggling of Iraqi, Syrian and Libyan oil through the INA, with which a part of the state leaders in Croatia were connected.

In 2004, Domagoj Margetic started researching the crime in the transformation and privatization of the largest banks in Croatia Zagreb Bank (Zagrebačka banka, ZABA), Zagreb.

In 2003, Margetic published in its entirety, “Dajmanović’s petition”, the document on crime and corruption in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.

In 2003, Margetic published a full secret file Villach, the secret bank accounts of the Government in the Austrian Erste Bank in Villach and documents about how the senior officials of the Croatian Democratic Party HDZ drew funds from those secret accounts to private accounts abroad.

In 2003 Margetic published a secret file of the Government on demise of the Istrian Bank and drawing of the money through the bank.

From 2001 through 2003 Margetic had been researching corruption and criminal in the Government, and in 2003, and as a result of research, his book “Who Robbed Croatia?” was published.

In 2001, Margetic revealed the Hypo secret file of Ministry of Finance, the secret documents from the investigation of the Exchange Inspectorate of the Ministry of Finance on crime and money laundering in the Hypo Group.

Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for Domagoj Margetic’s cause.

In 2000, Margetic wrote about banking crime in Croatia and the money draw through secret accounts from Croatian banks, and exposed the secret documents on privatization of the Zagreb Bank (Zagrebačka banka ZABA), the Commercial Bank Zagreb (Privredna banka Zagreb), the Dubrovnik Bank (Dubrovačka banka), the Istrian Bank (Istarska Banka) and the Dalmatian Bank (Dalmatinska Banka).

In 1999 Domagoj Margetic started researching the Hypo affair.

In 1997, Domagoj Margetic wrote an open letter to the Croatian president Franjo Tudjman on corruption and organized crime in Tudjman’s Government, and in this letter he revealed corruption in Croatian Electrics (Hrvatska Elektroprivreda), and a way of enriching of the prime minister on behalf of the Croatian Democratic Party (HDZ), which were appointed by Franjo Tudjman, through the extraction of money from the national budget and unlawful acquisition of shares by state-owned enterprises in the transformation and privatization.

Domagoj Margetic wrote about the corruption and crime in the transformation and privatization in Croatia from 1997 to 2000.

Support investigative journalism on change.org by petitioning for Domagoj Margetic’s cause.





Croatia a Banana State: in Which the Most Underaknowledged Asset is the Truth. Domagoj Margetic, Strikes with Hunger Day 22.

1 04 2013

Dear Friends,

with your signature please give support to Croatian journalist Domagoj Margetić who is on hunger strike since 11th of march 2013.  Please:

From Domagoj Margetic, investigative journalist

”This is my last attempt to set through my example to point out the extremely difficult existential and professional position in which Croatia’s investigative journalists have found themselves. We sought to open cases and corruption scandals, which, because of their political background and because high-profile corruption which are networked institutions in this country, and to a certain political party, never should be published.

So my fault and some of my colleagues is very clear: we wrote what was forbidden to write, we provide the public access to information that never should have become public. In short, we wrote and spoke about the forbidden truths. It is publicly known that I was the one of the first investigative journalist who researched, wrote and discovered some of the biggest corruption scandals in Croatia: Hypo scandal, political corruption in the Customs; Affair HAC; Case Soboli; Affair INA and smuggling oil through INA, cigarette smuggling, tobacco mafia and illegal conversion and privatization of TDZ and TDR; Case U.S.; Case Geotechnical Engineering; case secret bank accounts in Villach, Case of secret bank accounts at Privredna Banka; war crimes cases: Sijekovac, Brod, Mrkonjic Grad and Sisak; Affair on illegal conversions, privatization and illegal operations of the Bank of Zagreb, as well as cases of the Croatian Post, Croatian Postal Bank and the Bank of Dubrovnik.

I am an Author of thirteen publishing books on topics of great corruption scandals and investigations of organized crime, most notably, “Who robbed Croatia?” (2003.), “Banking Mafia” (2008.), and “The Case Pukanic: Murder with states signature”(2011).  Still, of all the scandals that I’ve revealed and have written about, the biggest is Hypo scandal, international bankingscandal, in which there is documented evidence presented, the money trail from the Croatian secret accounts abroad, primarily in Austria and Lichtenstein, under control of members of the political and economic elite from Croatia; some documents from Hypo scandal reveals the amount that reaches 47.7 billion euros. It is also known that I’ve, as an investigative journalist, first submitted documentation Attorney General’s Office on the case of Hypo – Mr Ivo Sanader– former Croatian prime Minister, back in April 2008. After that he had been under investigation, then filed charges and ultimately convicted with a criminal offense of war profiteering.

I had conceded all of mine research documents not only to investigating authorities, the police, the State Attorney’s Office and USKOK, but also the National Anti-Corruption Council in Parliament at the time the panel chaired by Dr. Zeljko Jovanovic and to investigative bodies of Austria who research Hypo scandal; I had worked closely with the late president of the Council for the Fight against Corruption Prime Minister Verica Barac.

I’ve worked as a journalist solely in the public interest, so that the citizens who are affected by the information that I have researched, ensure the availability of data and documents about some of the biggest corruption scandals in modern Croatia, Hypo scandal and many consider the largest banking scandal in Europe after the Second World War.  I have often worked against in a detriment of my personal interests and my family, to inform the public about my journalistic research. In the same time I had met with corruption deals, those strongmen who have learned to silence the media, who can buy and pay everyone.

So they had offered me money for journalistic silence and cessation ofjournalistic research as representatives of the Hypo Bank, representatives of one of the tobacco industry, representatives of the Bank of Zagreb and, when they realized that I would not accept any amount that they offered me, it was followed by the threat of very powerful individuals, institutions and companies in Croatia. Along with those whose bids or offers to pay for my silence declined, with the help of the media in which they are paid “marketing services”, and with the help of journalists and editors who they kept on its black payroll, they started a campaign of where the main objective was to discredit me as a man and as a journalist; they were written and published numerous articles and offended me with various accusations, lies and slander, to discredited me in public as much as possible, my journalist questionable authenticity.

So the media and journalists, who’ve often been involved directly or indirectly in the Hypo affair or other corruption cases, ran against me a dirty campaign for years in behalf of the mafia and corrupt politicians. On the other hand, those of whom I wrote about in this country, controlling everything from cash flow, the economy,politics, institutions, and the media, and since that I have not agreed to the settlement and haven’t made a deal with them because I did not agree to stop research and write about these corruption scandals, they have clearly made itknown that they would destroy me existentially if I won’t shut up, and if I won’t withdraw.

At first, I did not believe that they are so powerful and influential that they could deny me any journalistic work in Croatia, but eventually I realized that they control virtually everything. Very soon I found myself on the black list of journalists that Croatia must not allow to work, therefore, on the black list of journalists that no media in Croatia must not be employed. I knocked on the door of the editorial office and the media, but everywhere I’ve got the same answer, “ you’re on the black list, for you anywhere in Croatia there is no job!”

Some of my colleagues were smarter, they would take the offered money, kept quiet about the affair, and today are prized journalists who don’t have to worry about their existence nor their family. I was obviously stupid, because I refused to take money in exchange for the silence. Because, in this society, in this country, in journalism, most tariffs are for the silence, and the lowest tariff for the truth. I obviously didn’t understand at the time.

Capital of the major media in this country, is actually one way or another suspected criminal origin, about which I discovered many traces such as in my research Hypo scandal, in which involved are practically all the big media companies, their owners, or their leaders, and the media only served as a large laundry of dirty money stolen from the Croatian transition nineties. So even today, it is not advisable to explore the origins of capital in our media, and because research Hypo scandal, it is logical that I’m in all the media associated in any way with this scandal among the first names on journalistic blacklists.

Because of my research I ended up on the blacklist of the public broadcaster HRT, and it was no secret that I’m on the list of prohibited persons to HRT, or on the list of banned visits and participation in any of the shows on the channel of HRT. Besides, I am exposed to many other, judicial, police, security and intelligence pressures, to keep me shut up and stop in my journalistic research, primarily in research and writing about the Hypo scandal. And now I’m finally left on the street without any source of income, or no funds for normal existence. In other words, after all the scandals that Iuncovered, I was left to myself, no job, no income, no existential security.

That’s’ the way how the corrupt politicians and criminals, their interests and networked connections, managed to get revenge for what I wrote about and published. I have no longer any means of livelihood, and in fact, the more I have no choice which means I fight for my journalistic rights, I will announce that within ten days at a public place in Zagreb, I’m starting a hunger strike to defend my journalistic rights; primarily my right that criminal power centers in this country don’t silence me with their mafia, corruption, criminal methods. They want me to die in silence of starvation, it’s their revenge for my journalistic work.

Therefore I will starve in public, and what have happened to me, fall of conscience to all of you. If I was silent about corruption, if I like many others traded with information and documents, today I would have no financial problems and would not be forced to this letter, nor the public hunger strike. The lie is that the country and state institutions protect the rights of our journalists.

When we find major corruption scandals, our lives and our existence is not worth anything anymore. To the Mafia and the corrupt system we are an easy target to be removed, not always by physical liquidation, but worsen existence and sophisticated methods of silencing. One by one, while not silence us all, because you let them do it. Today in Croatia can work and survive only those journalists who are doing what they are told. Those journalists who respect the forbidden topic, do not write about them and can not speak, which corresponds to the owners of their media, sponsors, or political and business circles whose interests the media represents and protects.

Most of the media in Croatia today do not work on the principles of journalistic ethics and codes of practice, rather on the principles of media racket and media crime, and major media outlets often actually serve as a criminal money laundry for suspicious investors and shareowners that hidden behind certain media, thus hiding from the public and a genuine interest in the existence and the activities of individual media. Above all, I demand that the process of proposing and adopting the whistleblower protection Law on corruption begin, which would protect journalists, who explore, discover, write and report on cases of corruption and organized crime. If such a law was passed on time, it would not be possible to become an investigative journalist and banned just because I discovered and wrote about the corruption scandals that I mentioned earlier in the letter.

I demand that the institutions of the European Union continue to monitor the process of completing the requirements for membership of the Croatia, especially in regard to the protection of media freedom and whistleblower protection Law on corruption and organized crime. It would be desirable that the European Union reconsider accepting the Croatian membership until the conduct additional surveillance respect journalistic freedoms and rights, human rights and civil liberties, whistleblower protection Law on corruption and organized crime, who are citizens of Croatia in the third row, and in practice almost people with no rights. I demand from Croatian institutions to publicly answers why I am on “Black lists” of banned journalists, on what basis are set these criteria and how they prepare such black list of journalists? If such a black list does not exist, I demand that the state institutions plainly manifest in public recognition for journalistic research in uncovering corruption and organized crime in Croatia, which would have made it public knowledge that the “black lists” of disobedient journalists in this country has finally come to an end.

I demand that in Croatia I can be uninterrupted, uncensored investigative journalist to do my job, regardless of what political, financial, gangster, business, banking or other lobbies and groups I’m researching and writing, which is not the case for all the reasons that I have stated in a letter and that I can always argue further.

For all these reasons, on 11th March 2013. I begin a hunger strike in order not only to achieve the objectives set forth, but also pointed to the disastrous situation of media freedom in Croatia, especially when talking about independent investigative reporters who deal with major corruption scandals and investigation of organized crime. Such is to be silenced at all costs.

The goal is to silence us, so my hunger strike remained the only means to combat these forms of censure and restricting media freedom and rights.

I will continue with the hunger strike by fulfilling my demands.”

Domagoj Margetic, investigative journalist








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