The Commission on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest on Wednesday fined Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic HRK 30,000 because in July 2015 he changed the rules on the free advertising of political parties for electioneering purposes to enable such advertising at any time and not only in pre-election periods. He thus enabled his Labour and Solidarity Party to put up 30 billboards in Zagreb free of charge, using his powers as the mayor to his party's advantage.
"We are not contesting his right to change the relevant rules, but he used his powers to change them so that his party could obtain a certain benefit in a period that is not considered a pre-election period," said Commission chair Dalija Oreskovic.
She said that on 7 July 2015, Bandic formulated rules that changed conditions for the free advertising of political parties, and only two days later a decision to that effect was published in the City of Zagreb Official Gazette and went into force the following day, after which the party was allowed to put up billboards in the city without paying any fees.
"The political party led by Mr Bandic submitted its request before the new rules, enabling its free advertising, were published, and that raises the question of where it obtained information on this option. Mr Bandic evidently had privileged information that the rules would be changed," the Commission's rapporteur Branka Lukacevic Grgic said.
Bandic was therefore fined HRK 30,000, to be paid in ten monthly installments.