Milanovic rejects the claims made by Butkovic and the media about his cousin as fake

NEWS 08.04.202418:05 0 komentara

President Zoran Milanovic said on Monday that his cousin Zeljko Runje, former vice president of the Moscow-based Russian energy company Rosneft, was not under EU sanctions and accused Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic of spreading lies and fabrications.

During the exchange of accusations between Milanovic and Butkovic on Facebook, Butkovic raised the question of why Milanovic used his influence to allow his cousin, who had connections in the Russian capital, to open a bank account in Croatia after being sanctioned.

Although Butkovic did not reveal the identity of the man in question, the daily newspaper Vecernji List reported following his Facebook post that it was Zeljko Runje, the former vice president of the Russian state-owned company Rosneft, and that Milanovic had lobbied banks in Croatia in his capacity as president to open an account for him, which was eventually done at the Turkish Kent Bank.

The newspaper reported that Runje hosted Milanovic and the then Hungarian president Katalin Novak at his house on the island of Brac in August 2022 and that the two presidents did not inform the public about this meeting.

This prompted Milanovic to accuse the daily of cowardly behaviour and to publish false information about Katalin Novak’s participation in a dinner at Runje.

“Do these thieves know that the Hungarian president, i.e. her mother and father, have had a house in this bay for 25 years? So they are there,” Milanovic said, wondering what a secret meeting could mean when he is under constant police protection.

When Milanovic was asked by the press on Monday about the reason for the meeting at Runje, he replied: “We were having fun and chatting.”

Explaining the meeting further, Milanovic said that he was happy to be with Katlin Novak, her husband and their younger daughter. “My wife was in Zagreb at the time as she was working. I was there and a close friend of mine, a Croat from Dalmatia, and that was it. And there were other meetings. Before that, I visited the president in her home in Sutivan. This woman grew up on the Adriatic in Croatia. Just like I met with Dodik, to whom I sent a message a few days ago that he should sing less Chetnik (Serbian nationalist) songs,” Milanovic told the press in Sibenik, where he attended a local industrial vocational school.

Milanovic said that Runje had never been under sanctions and therefore Butkovic’s claims were false and that he was facing a trial in which he would lose everything. He called Butkovic a “thief and a scoundrel”.

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