During a debate in parliament over the 2014 report on the FINA financial agency on Thursday, the issue of pre-bankruptcy settlements was raised and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) MP Goran Maric called for an inquiry commission to investigate all the circumstances surrounding pre-bankruptcy settlements.
"I think that parliament should by consensus form an inquiry commission that will determine all the circumstances surrounding pre-bankruptcy settlements. That will be a long-term and painstaking job, but it is necessary," Maric said.
The HDZ parliamentary group claimed that pre-bankruptcy settlements were not dealt with to a sufficient extent in FINA's report. The report notes that in 2014, 7,574 cases were received identifying HRK 65 billion in liabilities of companies in pre-settlement bankruptcy proceedings that employed 60,148 workers.
"The HDZ bench is interested in the results of pre-bankruptcy settlements, how successful the process was and how many cases failed and how many people are employed now compared with when the procedures were introduced and why the state wrote off more than HRK 10 billion," said Ivan Suker on behalf of the HDZ bench.
He wondered about the fate of micro, small and medium enterprises, many of which have closed their doors and they should have been included in this report. When looking at the revenue side it is obvious that the largest revenue generated by FINA was in fact from fees for services in pre-bankruptcy settlements, which amounted to HRK 114 million in 2014.
Bridge MP Ivan Lovrinovic too said that he would request a more detailed report about pre-bankruptcy settlements. "That is a black stain on recent Croatian history. In the wake of transformation and privatisation, it is probably the largest source of crime in Croatia," Lovrinovic said.
Ivan Vilibor Sincic of the Human Shield claimed that there had been some cases where fictitious liabilities were reported which led to accounts being blocked and in some cases were even put under distress yet FINA charged for its services.
According to the FINA report, on 31 December 2014 there were 322,498 citizens whose accounts were frozen and their debts amounted to HRK 31.06 billion. In 2015 the number of citizens with blocked accounts diminished, however, the amount they owed increased nominally as these referred to citizens with long-term blockades.