Around 1,000 fans of the Dinamo football club, called the Bad Blue Boys, staged a protest outside the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in Zagreb on Friday, following the latest arrest of Dinamo chief executive Zdravko Mamic, to express their dissatisfaction with the work of state institutions concerning the club's business operations.
The protest was secured by a large number of riot police and the streets in the vicinity of the ministry were closed to traffic due to the large number of protesters.
"Considering that several investigations are under way into Dinamo executives for the biggest fraud in the history of Croatian sport, for every day they spend from now on in their positions in Dinamo we will hold responsible the current and every future government whose sports inspection had and still has the legal authority to remove that tumor from our club," the protesters said, calling for the dissolution of all of the club's bodies.
The protesters said that their action did not concern only Dinamo supporters but all Zagreb residents.
"State institutions are preparing to release a man who has been charged for stealing hundreds of millions of kuna and reinstate him in a job where he has access to taxpayers' money. Your money," the Bad Blue Boys said.
Science, Education and Sports Minister Vedran Mornar did not meet with the protesters but earlier in the day he said that the ministry had done all it could under the law and in terms of its power to conduct sport inspections. Mornar also said that Dinamo fans had not sent the ministry a request for a meeting nor had they informed it of their plan to hold a protest.
He said that their demands were not clear.
"One can read between the lines that they want the structure of the football club's assembly to be regulated, but that matter is not defined by the Sports Act but by the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, which clearly says that the statutes of NGOs are approved by state administration offices, in this case by the Public Administration Office of the City of Zagreb," Mornar said, adding that one could impose a different structure of the club's assembly by amending the Sports Act but that that would violate the autonomy of sport as guaranteed by rules of international umbrella sport associations.
As for fraudulent activities Dinamo's executives are suspected of, Mornar said that the anti-corruption office USKOK was investigating those suspicions and that the ministry could not comment on that.
Mamic was placed in investigative custody earlier this month on suspicion of financial wrongdoing. Investigative custody was also ordered for his son Mario and businessmen Sandro Stipancic and Igor Krota. The court turned down the prosecutor's motion to remand the head of the Croatian Football Federation, Damir Vrbanovic, on account of 1 million kuna bail he had posted in July when an investigation was launched on suspicion that Zdravko Mamic had siphoned millions of kuna from Dinamo.
Mario Mamic may be released from the Remetinec detention centre only after he posts 5 million kuna bail. Stipancic was set bail of 4 million kuna and Krota of 2 million kuna.
The latest investigation of the most powerful person in Croatian football is the result of months of inquiries by the Financial Ministry's tax fraud investigators, who have found that more than 10 million euros and 500,000 pounds sterling has been siphoned from Dinamo through off-shore companies since 2004. USKOK suspects that Mario Mamic and the two businessmen were in charge of those operations.
USKOK claims that the suspects made fictitious agreements and contracts between Dinamo and companies from Switzerland, Great Britain and Hong Kong on the takeover of Dinamo's fictitious debts to players and on fictitious brokering services in player transfers, which were signed on Dinamo's behalf by Zdravko Mamic and Vrbanovic.