The anti-corruption office USKOK has issued an indictment against businessman Djuro Gavrilovic, charging him with purchasing several meat-processing companies that were part of the Gavrilovic concern during the 1990s war in Croatia with money intended for the country's defence in the amount of two million German marks.
USKOK said on its web site that the indictee was aided in the transaction by the then Finance Minister Jozo Martinovic.
Without disclosing Gavrilovic's identity, USKOK says on its web site that the indictee, an Austrian citizen, is suspected of inciting abuse of office and authority. However, because the alleged abuse occurred from 11 November 1991 to the end of October 1992, he is charged in line with the Law on Exemption from Statute of Limitations for War Profiteering and Crimes Committed in the Process of Ownership Transformation and Privatisation.
The indictment notes that Gavrilovic exploited the situation of war and limited functioning of state bodies in the purchase of weapons and equipment needed for the country's defence in order to obtain significant material gain for himself.
USKOK alleges that he did so by buying a number of bankrupt companies whose value at the time was estimated at close to 68 million German marks.
Gavrilovic undertook to pay slightly more than 3.3 million German marks for those companies within a period of 90 days even though, USKOK alleges, he did not have the money.
Being aware that "a person whom he previously asked for help in collecting money for the purchase" of bankrupt companies had in their bank account abroad almost two million marks for Croatia's defence, Gavrilovic asked then Finance Minister Jozo Martinovic to order that person to give him that money.
The prosecutors allege that Martinovic did so in early 1992 to help Gavrilovic unlawfully obtain significant material gain.
After the owner of the said bank account did as ordered by the finance minister and paid into Gavrilovic's bank account abroad two million German marks, Gavrilovic used that money as well as additional money he had collected, to pay the purchase price.
The prosecutors allege that by doing so he caused financial harm to the country that was at war in the amount of more than HRK 7.8 million.
After the investigation was launched into him in late November 2014, Gavrilovic claimed that he was exposed to a lynching campaign and that the purchase of the Gavrilovic meat industry had been conducted in line with the law.
He also claimed that the investigation had been launched because of international arbitration proceedings in which the Gavrilovic meat company was seeking damages from Croatia and to influence the final ruling in the case.