Commenting on reports that Hypo Alpe Adria Bank has paid bribes to Croatian Constitutional Court judge Davorin Mlakar, State Election Commission member Josip Vresk, and Danijel Ropus, Chief State Prosecutor Dinko Cvitan said on Thursday that his office was conducting the necessary checks.
Asked by reporters if Croatian authorities would launch proceedings in the case of allegations that Hypo Alpe Adria Bank paid 210,000 euros each to Mlakar, Vresk and Ropus, which is a subject of a trial before an Austrian court, Cvitan said that he could not comment on the case and that his office was conducting the necessary checks.
Croatian Television (HTV) reported two months ago that the three men received bribes from Hypo Alpe Adria Bank ten years ago in exchange for services in the conversion of farmland to construction land in Simuni and influence-peddling involving officials of the Croatian National Bank (HNB) aimed at obtaining the HNB's consent for the sale of Hypo Banka to BLB Bank.
The HTV also reported that Vresk had admitted to Austrian investigators, in a trial of former Hypo Alpe Adria Bank executive Josef Kircher, charged with misappropriating 1.7 million euros, that he had taken a bribe from Hypo Bank for certain projects in Croatia and for influence-peddling involving the HNB, at the time when he was already a member of the State Election Commission.
Chief State Prosecutor Cvitan commented on the case during a visit to Pula, where he and Justice Minister Ante Sprlje attended the opening of the new headquarters of the county and municipal prosecutorial authorities and the Pula Municipal Court's land registry. The renovated offices are located in barracks dating back to the time of the Hapsburg monarchy and the project cost HRK 28.5 million.
Sprlje said the project was part of a EUR 17 million project for assistance to the judicial sector, financed with a World Bank loan.