The masterminds of a group which according to the USKOK anti-corruption office laundered over HRK 630 million through fictitious gold sales are father and son Ante and Luka Gale whom, alongside another 11, the Zagreb County Court placed in one month's detention on Friday night.
Among them are the fugitives Antonijo and Pejo Ivic, whose names became public after this week's theft of two kilos of gold and EUR 280,000 from the headquarters of Zagreb's criminal police.
Detention was set to prevent them from tampering with witnesses and repeating the crime.
According to a press release on its website on Friday, USKOK claims that the two prime suspects conspired to make illegal gains appear legal and that for that purpose they committed a series of crimes since May 2014 in Croatia and Italy.
USKOK launched an investigation into 15 suspects on Friday, not requesting detention for two.
According to media reports, the clamp-down on this criminal ring intensified after the heist at Zagreb's criminal police headquarters, when the gold and the money were stolen from a safe in the office of a senior police official in the night between April 3 and 4. The heist prompted the resignations of several senior police officials.
Of those 15 suspects, 13 were arrested on Thursday, while the media reported that the two prime suspects were out of the country. After hearing that they were wanted by the Croatian police, they have allegedly said that they will come back to Croatia.