Luka Modric’s Court Testimony In Zdravko Mamic Corruption Case Spins Ugly Outcries

Luka Modic (Front)
Zdravko Mamic (Back)
Photo: Screenshot Getty Images


When it comes to hyping up flames of reckoning with corruption in Croatia highly-positioned, wealthy dignitaries in football, a sport that ignites the passion of masses, take as much of the public attention cake as politicians accused of corruption do. Football player transfer has been the field of riches and wealth accumulation everywhere and while corrupt conduct may or may not be involved the magnitude of money involved has certainly tickled imagination of many, so too in Croatia. The unsavoury consequences of being accused or indicted for corruption is that a palpably large slice of public imagination delivers a guilty verdict long before any court trial has heard or finished testing the evidence or has delivered any official verdict. One may well conclude that this is a product of public’s impatience for Croatia to rid itself of corruption that has evidently thrived in the country from the days of communist Yugoslavia and continued into the modern independent Croatian state. The frequent distrust in the judicial system and courts themselves serves no favours to anyone.

In these cases impatience and the “guilty until proven innocent” phenomenon do no justice. If anything they cause damage – that is quite clear to everyone, I think, yet still – they go on.

Former Dinamo Zagreb chief Zdravko Mamic (and others) is currently on trial for embezzlement and tax fraud, among other things, which is currently considered as one of the biggest corruption legal cases in the country. Zdravko Mamic, his brother Zoran and two others are charged with embezzling €15 million ($17m) since 2008 through alleged fictitious deals made during transfers of several former Dinamo players to foreign clubs. Mamic is accused of illegally pocketing a chunk of Luka Modric’s (current Real Madrid star midfielder) transfer fee when he left Dinamo for Spurs in 2008.

There is no debate held, it seems, as to whether or not Mamic was made absurdly rich off the back of the deal, the trial is simply determining if anything illegal took place. Undoubtedly the contracts signed between Zdravko Mamic and transferred player Luka Modric (see below) will undergo proper legal scrutiny.

For many years, Croatia has been a breeding ground for some of the premium talents in European football. From Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Robert Prosinecki, to Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic, Croatia and its domestic league has blossomed into top echelons of league in Europe and worldwide. However, despite a bevy of elite footballers and several impressive academies, the domestic league and national team are said to be among the two most corrupt and troubled institutions in world football with a seemingly endless laundry list of alleged infractions and crimes on its record.

On Tuesday June 13th Luka Modric appeared as a key witness at the Mamic corruption trial in the town of Osijek, testifying about his financial deals with Zdravko Mamic.

Modric, who is not a suspect, spoke about the financial details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham. He moved to Real Madrid in 2012.

Modric said he had a deal with former Dinamo director Zdravko Mamic to pay the club 50 percent of the transfer. He said the transfer to Tottenham was worth “between” 21 million and 23 million euros .

Modric said that after the sums were paid to Dinamo’s and his bank accounts in Croatia, he gave an unspecified amount “cash in hand” to Mamic’s brother and son.

My goal was to clear all of my debts toward him, so I don’t owe him (Mamic) anything else in the future,” Modric said.

As the prosecutor Tonci Petkovic presented Modric with an earlier statement of his own on Tuesday, Modric first asked for it to be repeated.

While it was being read again, he started to shake his head; put his hands on the table and said: “That… That I’ve never said… that it… that… that it was drawn up afterwards. I told you then that I couldn’t remember when it had been done.” Hence, upon being confronted with details of his initial statement, Modric explained he got confused.

When speaking about that, I was talking about a personal contract between Mamic and me, which regulated the split of the transfer fee,” he said.

Zdravko Mamic had testified in court that on occasions of every change to a player transfer contract he had signed annexes to the original contract.

After Luka Modric’s testimony on Tuesday Mamic stated to the awaiting media: “Luka did not change his statement, I have seen it. His statement is something most beautiful and most honest thing ever seen. They injected a sentence into his (original) statement which he never uttered. He said today it was a lie and that it was not true. In London we negotiated the division (of money) on a basis of a civil contract between him and I. That’s where the beginning and the end of the story is and everything else is a big performance, disgusting, in which the whole system has pounced against my back.” 

The case continues but with Mamic having sacked his legal defence team stating he wished to represent himself in court from now on.

The moment Luka Modric finished his testimony on Tuesday you just knew nothing in Croatia was eer going to be the same for him.

That same day, just hours later, there would be a crowd of Hajduk Split fans chanting “Luka Modric, you little sh*t” as they walked to a club members’ event. The next morning, messages started to appear on the streets of Croatian cities – one, on the front of the Hotel Iz in Zadar, where the Modric family use to live as war refugees in the 1990s, ominously warned “Luka, you will remember this one day”.

Well – so much for fairness! So much for “innocent until proven guilty”! So much for the trust between much of the Croatian public and the courts. Ina Vukic.

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: