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





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





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.





Something is Rotten in the State of Croatia

3 04 2013

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Croatia is a small, beautiful country sitting at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, with a beautiful serene Adriatic Sea coast that contains more than a thousand islands.  It has a high potential for development. It also has a very high development index, where life expectancy, literacy, education are high (high levels of income are disputable).  Yet, in this 20th Century, there was a bloody war that Croatia was involved in …

Less than ten years ago, in 1995, when all stakeholders of the war in the Former Yugoslavia, including Croatia what, exhausted by infighting, forgot to do – is to deal with forgiveness, despite the close living proximity to those they declared enemies.  Reconciliation is imperfect, but it is necessary. And this incidentally is a rotten part of Croatian development as a state where freedom of speech is restricted, where no political figures have taken up courage to deal with truth, and where there is no division between politics and private sector development.  As the matter of fact, reading the below referenced 2010 report from Amnesty International one can extrapolate that the Croatian government leadership since 1995 has been full of war profiteers.

Longer the truth is closeted, more rotten it is going to continue to be in the State of Croatia. Croatia, however, can thank independent journalism for bringing that much needed truth up on the surface.  Why, every war begins because of money, but in the Balkans people have been duped to believe that it is because of ethnic hatred.  So they continue to hate.

Thankfully, the profiteering and monetary flows have best been described by Hypo Affair uncovered and documented, by an investigative journalist Domagoj Margetic (Sign Change.org petition to support Domagoj.  So now, they can stop hating.  But they don’t.

Indirectly, what Margetic has begun is inklings of Truth Reconciliation Commission, whose members are himself and a clan of dedicated truth seekers across the Balkans.   Incidentally, the ‘truth seeker’ is on Hunger Strike because he is Black Listed by the Croatian Government.

It is safe to say that on the top of Croatian pyramid known as Hypo Group Alpe Adria Affair (there is an Austrian scandal associated with this bank as well), one can find involvement of three political parties led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Croatian Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS).

According to Margetic’s research (please watch the video with English subtitles) and documents that he has in possession about EUR 100 Million of Former Yugoslavian money, half of which belonging to Croatia,  have been laundered and about 200 elite Croatian families have gotten rich as a result of this.   An example is provided of Ivo Sanader.

Margetic’s investigative journalism brought down Ivo Sanader, former Croatian prime minister and the former president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).  Sanader has allegedly received nearly $700,000 in bribes by Hypo Group Alpe Adria Bank for arranging a loan in 1995.  He has been accused of war profiteering, and has also been accused of receiving EUR 10 million in bribes from the CEO of the Hungarian oil company MOL, Zsolt Hernádi, to secure MOL a dominant position in the Croatian oil company INA.  This pyramid scandal has everyone involved.

Just ask Domagoj Margetic, and he will give you 20+ names of major politicians, 35+ names of major tycoons and other key people involved in the Hypo affair.

Why isn’t Margetic publishing a book about all of this?  He has.  His book, “The Banking Mafia” was written in 2008, topics include:

  1. Money transfers to Liechtenstein  through the Hypo bank;
  2. Ivo Sanader disposed with illicit funds Hypo bank loans in 1995
  3. Money laundering at the Hypo Bank;
  4. Government participated in money laundering through the Hypo bank
  5. Croatian government shares responsibility for the criminal in Hypo Bank
  6. Whom did the bank grant secret loans to?
  7. Laundering of more than 11 billion through the Hypo Bank illegally increased external debt of the Republic of  Croatia;
  8. Fictitious loans granted by the Hypo Bank Klagenfurt served as a cover for money laundering;
  9. Money laundering with the long-term foreign currency bank deposits of the Hypo Hypo Bank  Klagenfurt with the Hypo Bank Zagreb;
  10. Through supplementary capital the Hypo bank Zagreb laundered over 200 million euros;
  11. Hypo bank in Croatia laundered money through related person transactions;
  12. Through secret foreign accounts in foreign banks, Hypo Bank Zagreb laundered around 500 million euros;
  13. Hypo bank through The Slavonian Bank (Slavonska Banka)  increased Croatian foreign debt by more than 301 million euros;
  14. Criminal report for money laundering and concealment of illicit money in Slavonian Bank (Slavonska banka);
  15. The Croatian National Bank provided money laundering by the Hypo Bank through the Slavonian Bank (Slavonska Banka)

Below, you will read about inability of political elite to deal with the legacy of the war, including war profiteering.

Unfortunately this has been the case with a large chunk of Croatian people.  Domagoj Margetic has been called a Serbian agent, a follower of Serbian World War II monarchist paramilitary army (‘cetniks’), etc.

The lack of political elite to release information, provide apologies, establish whistle blowing laws for the companies (which are sometimes government-owned, and at other times formerly government-owned) and media (support a Petition to Establish a Whistleblowing Law in Coratia) is affecting Croatian people drawing them into ‘group-think.’  Croatian elite has done very well in psychologically controlling the masses.

This is why smart, free and independent journalists, like Domagoj Margetic, find themselves on the brink of starvation.  Whereby in America, he would be earning millions of dollars from his investigative journalism work, in Croatia Margetic, will be allowed to starve to death.

Now back to Amnesty International report issued in 2010 (three years ago).  While some references may be outdated, facts and recommendations provided remain, and they call as does this blog post for some serious thought to Croatia needing to belong on international human rights watch.

In 2010, Amnesty International issued a report on Croatia, confirming that while they have no position on whether the Republic of Croatia should or should not be accepted as a member of the EU or any other international organizations, they did confirm that:

  • The accession process into the European Union is “a good opportunity for Croatia to improve its human rights record by complying with the highest human rights standards.”
  • Having said that, the organization continued to be concerned that measures that have been implemented in Croatia did not translate into tangible effects.

While the majority of the report deals with Croatia’s handling of the war crimes, Amnesty International was particularly concerned with:

  • Ethnic bias in sentencing
  • Failure to prosecute war crimes in accordance with international standards,
  • Failure to enforce all relevant legislation providing for the protection of witnesses (in the courtroom and outside, witness support services),
  • Failure to make judges, prosecutors and lawyers fully aware of international obligations in the field of human rights; and most of all
  • The lack of political will in Croatia to deal with the legacy of the war.

And this is the ‘rotten’ part where the focus of this blog post will be placed.

How are politicians not dealing with past?

  • There is the lack of political will to prosecute war crimes cases in Croatia and the failure of the authorities to make it their priority
  • When the three Croatian Army generals (Ante Gotovina, Ivan Čermak and Mladen Markač)  were awaiting their trial in The Hague, the government of Croatia, instead of distancing itself from the case, asked the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in September 2006 to be allowed to act in the capacity of amicus curiae in the case.  They were rejected.  This makes everyone externally extrapolate that Croatian government is full of war profiteers.
  • The failure of the authorities to provide the ICTY with all the relevant military documents related to the 1995 Operation Storm
  • In his last report to the UN Security Council in November 2009, the ICTY Chief Prosecutor stated that “since the previous report to the Security Council […] no substantial progress has been made in locating a number of key military documents related to Operation Storm of 1995, which the Office of the Prosecutor had first requested in 2007.”   As of April, 2010, when this Amnesty International document was written, no documents were not provided
  • Amnesty International was extremely concerned about the political involvement by some of the highest officials in the country, in the case of Branimir Glavas, Member of the Croatian Parliament, preventing the course of justice, whereby Government waived his detention during prosecution.  On the day of the verdict, the accused fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which citizenship he acquired in the meantime.  Based on the agreement on mutual execution of criminal sanctions between Croatia and Bosnia, Glavas was finally arrested in Bosnia on September 28, 2010.    His seven medals were taken away.
  • As was the case with 2010 President of Croatia’s apology to Bosnia in the Bosnian Parliament of Bosnia, Croatian parties took that apology back in the weeks to follow
  • As a result, political figures are undermining efforts to ensure reparation for all victims of the wars.

Possible solutions proposed by Amnesty International:

  • Amnesty International recommends that calls on Croatia to, in line with the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, undertake immediate efforts to grant the victims the right to reparation, including an official apology, for the war crimes which, beyond any doubt and as confirmed by the ICTY, have been committed by the Croatian military and political officials.

“Amnesty International urges leading officials in the country to refrain from making statements which undermine efforts to guarantee the right to remedy and reparation, as enshrined in international law, including an official apology.”

  • “The organization calls on the government of Croatia to show true commitment to prosecute all war crimes irrespective of the ethnicity of those responsible for war crimes and their victims.”







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