The newly-appointed War Veterans' Minister Miro Crnoja said on Tuesday evening that media reports about his false statement of address for the purpose of tax evasion were insinuations, explaining that he had been registered in Samobor to facilitate the process of obtaining a permit to build a house in this town west of Zagreb.
"Those are media insinuations. This is an attack against me and the new government," Crnoja told the national broadcaster HRT, insisting that all the imputations were an attempt to disparage the War Veterans' Ministry and the cooperation between the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Bridge party.
Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) said earlier today that it was in possession of documents about the false address and that Crnoja was given land by the town of Samobor to build a house under the law on the entitlements of Croatian war veterans. Under a contract signed in 2010, Crnoja had three years to build the house and if he did not, he had to return the land to the town, which Crnoja did not do. Based on the land contract, he was given a EUR 56,000 loan to build the house. The town said it would take legal action.
Media have said that Crnoja gave Samobor as his place of residence, although he actually lives in Zagreb, speculating that he did so because, unlike Zagreb, Samobor has no municipal tax, and that he has been reported several times for using physical violence.
Refuting the accusations, Crnoja said that the documentation showed that he has been registered as a resident of Samobor since 13 November 2013 and that he did so in order to build a house for his family.
The minister said that he was willing to compensate for the non-payment of municipal taxes in Zagreb, explaining that he has not given up a plan to build a house in Samobor.
Crnoja also showed an HRT reporter documentation proving that a local court in Samobor had lifted the deadline for building the house on the plot which he was given as a war veteran.
As for accusations that he was remanded in prison on bullying charges, Crnoja read out a court decision that the charges against him were dropped and that he was reimbursed 800 kuna for the unlawful arrest.
Crnoja said that he was ready for any sanctions that Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko of the HDZ might propose.