Lawyers Jadranka Slokovic, Cedo Prodanovic and Jasna Novak offered the government verbal and not written advice concerning the situation of former Veterans' Affairs Minister Mijo Crnoja and the government paid HRK 2,187.50 (approximately EUR 300) for their services, notes a government response to Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Pedja Grbin who had queried about the arrangement with the lawyers.

Lodging the query, Grbin referred to the Freedom of Information Law (FOI) and the government responded in the prescribed time. However, Grbin said that he was not satisfied with the government's response and that he would request a further explanation.

"The main conclusion from the government's reply is that Karamarko and the government have presented a series of untruths about the procedure surrounding Crnoja's resignation and the engagement of attorneys, lest I say, lied. That evening when the minister stepped down, First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko waved a piece of paper in which he claimed, implied that Crnoja was not responsible for anything. However, that paper allegedly is what the attorneys presented concerning the consultations over the Crnoja case," Grbin told Hina.

He warned that the government's reply however, notes that the attorneys did not present a written opinion but exclusively verbal. "What the contents of that opinion are, has not been answered and I will continue with this procedure with the Information Ombudswoman to obtain that information," Grbin said.

He recalled that the government was adamant that the legal services were free of charge, or as the government's press release said, "considering that this referred exclusively to one-off services of an advisory nature by external associates, legal experts, Jadranka Slokovic, Jasna Novak and Cedo Prodanovic as participants in the expert discussion together with legal experts of the Patriotic Coalition and Bridge, their services were completely free of charge."

"The reply notes that the services were paid for after all. The price of the services is not significant, what is significant is that the information about the payment emerged after the government expressly stated that the services were free of charge. Why has that detail now been changed," Grbin asked and announced that he would continue to send queries to the government because the reply he received was insufficient.

Mijo Crnoja stepped down late January, a little more than a week after he took office, following media pressure due to a scandal over land for his future house and a loan granted to him.

In deciding Crnoja's fate, the government called for the advice of legal experts and the government then claimed that the attorneys had been engaged free of charge. The Croatian Bar Association however warned that in that case the attorneys could face disciplinary action as free legal aid can only be offered with the approval of the bar, which the three had not requested.

Related stories

Ex-PM released from investigative custody

Bridge party wants veterans' minister replaced

HDZ MP calls for lustration of media

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.