Former head of HGK gets eight years in jail in a marathon money-laundering trial

NEWS 22.12.202116:05 0 komentara

Zagreb County Court on Wednesday found the former head of the national chamber of commerce HGK, Nadan Vidosevic, guilty for corruption and sentenced him to eight years in prison. The verdict, pending appeal, came after a lengthy trial in which prosecutors alleged that Vidosevic had siphoned millions from HGK's coffers. Pročitaj više

Vidosevic had served as head of HGK from 1995 to 2013. Before that, he served as economy minister in 1993-95 in the cabinet of Prime Minister Nikica Valentic (HDZ). He also ran in the 2009-10 presidential election, in which he finished fourth in the first round, and also served as CEO of Kras, the largest chocolate company in the country.

On Wednesday, he was also found guilty of buying artworks for his personal collection using funds from HGK, and also an excavator using money siphoned out of Kras, for his personal building projects. Since he has been sentenced to more than five years, he will immediately be taken to prison.

Vidosevic’s closest assistant, Zdenka Peternel, was sentenced to two years pending appeal, also for siphoning money from HGK via fake job contracts, while former HGK head of accounting, Josipa Miladinov, and her deputy, Jasna Mikic, were acquitted, also pending appeal.

Before the end of the trial in this case, dubbed Remorker, the Uskok anti-corruption prosecutors dropped the charges against Jadranka Ivicic, former deputy chair of the supervisory board at Kras, for procuring the excavator for a property Vidosevic owns in the mountainous Gorski Kotar area of the country.

Four other defendants accused of siphoning money from the HGK plea bargained and were sentenced to community service.

One of them was Igor Premilovac, who was the first to speak about the scheme in which his Czech-registered company called Remorker (Croatian for “tugboat”) issued fake invoices to HGK. He would then receive the payments – approved by Vidosevic et al – and return the laundered funds back to Croatia, in exchange for a cut of the money. The second one was Davor Komericki, a marketing expert who had connected Vidosevic to the money-laundering ring within the HGK.

The remaining two were Vesna Rodic, Vidosevic’s real estate advisor, and Jasna Mrakovcic-Grubic, who admitted to siphoning money from the HGK together with Vidosevic by falsifying purchases of expensive paintings.

The Remorker case also led to the state road company Hrvatske Ceste. The main suspect there was Bozidar Kalmeta, a former HDZ transport minister and former mayor of Zadar. He was acquitted, pending appeal, in September 2019.

Uskok had filed the indictment against Vidosevic and eight others in the Remorker case in July 2015, moving for the seizure of 33.4 million kuna from him, which at the time was estimated to be the unaccounted for disproportion between Vidosevic’s income and assets. A subsequent expert evaluation determined that his 26 properties and 444 works of art, totaling 22.4 million kuna in value, had been acquired legally, leaving only 9.2 million kuna in doubt.

(€1 = 7.52 kuna)

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