Mamic, Vrbanovic present their defence, deny charges

The chief executive of the Dinamo Football Club, Zdravko Mamic, and Croatian Football Federation chief executive Damir Vrbanovic were questioned on Wednesday evening at the Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) in Zagreb, after which they were placed back in police custody.

Their lawyers would not reveal details of the case that has led to the arrest of Mamic and Vrbanovic as well as of Mamic's son Mario and businessmen Igor Krota and Sandro Stipancic.

Prosecutors will most probably continue with their questioning on Thursday morning, after which they will say if they want the suspects to be remanded in custody, on which a decision will be made by a Zagreb County Court investigating judge.

Zdravko Mamic's attorney Jadranka Slokovic said that her client denied the charges against him. This was the only statement from the legal team representing the most powerful man of Croatian football against whom USKOK launched the first investigation in July this year, suspecting him of siphoning money from Dinamo.

Vrbanovic's attorney Janjko Galic would not reveal more information to reporters either. He only said that Vrbanovic did not consider himself guilty and that he presented his defence and answered questions from prosecutors who charge him, among other things, with breach of trust in business transactions. 

Before the questioning at USKOK, Mamic and the other suspects were questioned at the offices of the Police Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime (PNUSKOK), whose staff today searched a number of homes and business offices.

According to unofficial sources, USKOK charges Mamic and the other suspects with tax evasion, giving and taking of bribes, and breach of trust in business transactions.

Krota and Stipancic are reportedly suspected of involvement in illegal money transfers involving off-shore companies abroad.

Zdravko Mamic has been under investigation before on suspicion that he, his brother Zoran, Vrbanovic and tax official Milan Pernar embezzled at least HRK 117.8 million of Dinamo's money and defrauded the state budget of at least 12.2 million kuna in unpaid taxes.

USKOK claims that Mamic illegally earned at least 52 million kuna and his younger brother Zoran 38.1 million. The two brothers were released from investigative custody on July 15 after posting bail.

Zdravko Mamic was also charged in July with threatening the manager of footballer Robert Muric.

Last update: Thu, 24/12/2015 - 00:30
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