Croatia: Former President Stjepan Mesic Spins A Cock and Bull Story Against Media In Corruption Allegations

Stjepan Mesic, former president of Croatia Photo: Ivana Ivanovic/Pixsell

Stjepan Mesic, former president of Croatia
Photo: Ivana Ivanovic/Pixsell

The Finnish defendants are suspected to have participated in promising or giving of bribes through intermediaries in exchange for actions of the president of the Republic of Croatia and the general manager of a Croatian state-owned company, who were considered to have leverage in the procurement procedure of the vehicles,” says in the press/news release by Finland’s office of the State Prosecutor dated 28 June 2013.

The suspects are alleged to have promised and partly paid out bribes amounting to 5 % of the selling price of the AMV-vehicles. In 2005 Patria Vehicles Oy offered AMV-vehicles to the Republic of Croatia at a price exceeding 350 million euro. In 2007 an agreement for purchase of a limited number of vehicles was concluded between Patria Vehicles Oy and the Republic of Croatia, Patria’s share of the deal being more than 50 million euro”.

The president of the Republic of Croatia this Finnish press release refers to in none other than Stjepan Mesic, who was in office between 2000 and 2010, who was the main driver of the political onslaught against dr Franjo Tudjman that commenced in 1992 through Mesic’s political demise as Speaker in Croatian Parliament in 1994 to his perpetual and obsessive campaigns of lies or half-truths against Tudjman publicly and as witness for the ICTY prosecution that would evidently give Carla del Ponte (former ICTY chief prosecutor) the wings she needed to hunt down Croatian war-time leadership (including the already deceased Tudjman) and Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac alleging joint criminal enterprise against the Serb population in Croatia during early to mid-1990’s.  In 2012 the ICTY Appeal Chamber acquitted the Croatian Generals, and so too Franjo Tudjman and the Croatian wartime leadership of joint criminal enterprise and concluded that there was no forceful deportation of Serbs from Croatia. But, damage had already been done to Tudjman’s reputation and the reputation of the whole defence efforts Croatia was forced to embark upon as a result of brutal aggression by Croatian Serb and Serb led Yugoslav army forces.

Suspicions against Stjepan Mesic in the realms of bribery, corruption, theft, and improper financial dealings … have lingered throughout all this time – for almost twenty years and he has managed to evade any serious action against him or in relation to many public allegations of corrupt or improper conduct in Croatia. This frankly does not surprise me at all, even if it does distress me profoundly as a citizen and human being.

This week the Zagreb based weekly Globus published an article in which it confirmed that it was able to receive confirmation from Finland’s chief state prosecutor, Juka Rappe, and Chief Inspector of the National Bureau of Investigations Kaj Erik Bjorkqvist, that the former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and former Djuro Djakovic company director Bartol Jerkovic are suspected of taking bribes from a Finnish company (Patria). It is alleged that a broker was used to negotiate and receive bribes from Patria in order for Patria to win the tender for the supply of armoured military vehicles to Croatia in 2007.

The Finnish state prosecutor was quoted in Globus as saying that Finnish judicial bodies will not take any legal action against the Croatian citizens, and that this was instead the duty of the Croatian State Prosecutor’s Office, i.e., Prosecutor Mladen Bajic.

According to former president Stjepan Mesic said on Wednesday that the intelligence underworld was behind media reports saying that he was going to be considered a suspect in the Patria corruption case and that the purpose of such reports was to create chaos.

This is a game by the Globus weekly and the intelligence underworld and it suits someone that I should no longer be considered a political factor. Even though I can no longer run in elections, it obviously bothers someone that I express my opinion. This is how they intend to shut me up. This is politically motivated,” Mesic told the media.

Well, well – excuse me Mr Mesic but that is a whole lot of a cock and bull spin! You spin a fanciful and unbelievable story here that is obviously a lie! Croatian media – Globus – did nothing more than follow up on the actual news/press release by the Finnish Office of the State Prosecutor.

As far as the deal with Patria is concerned there was no need for any bribe because Patria’s bid was the most favourable,” Mesic said in article.

Well, well – excuse me Mr Mesic but that gives neither assurance nor proof that the tender process was not tampered with, i.e. certain prospective tenderer given information they should not have had. In a country riddled with corruption as Croatia was particularly during the years of Mesic’s presidency which include the current  (some already proven) monumental corruption cases before the courts against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader/ a close political mate of Mesic, fixing a winner in a government tender process is something even a child would justifiably suspect.

While there has been no comment from Croatia’s Office of the State Prosecutor in relation to these new developments and direct allegations of corruption of the highest of orders against Stjepan Mesic one holds an expectation that the matter will be dealt with most strenuously. This is not the first time clear allegations of corruption, as well as war profiteering, against Mesic have surfaced in the Croatian media and elsewhere. There have been matters of suspect personal property and assets dealings, matters of missing funds from the diaspora and cheques carried by Mesic for humanitarian aid gone missing or inappropriately handled, to name two. Mesic had always slipped out of any serious investigations into allegations of corruption like some political Houdini – always coming up with excuses and (un)believable stories as well as personal attacks against those who “dared” to voice their seemingly well-founded suspicions, in order to confuse the issues at hand and re-direct attention elsewhere. I guess his latest “intelligence underworld” rant is more of the same Houdini-type attempt at trying to elude pursuit of justice – at least in media and public circles.  Let’s hope his latest cock and bull story about the media’s motives and an intelligence underworld doesn’t scare the State Prosecution from pursuing these most serious of allegations.  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


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