božo petrov.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov said on Wednesday that his Bridge party would state in time its decision on whether, in case the parliament took a vote of no confidence in First Deputy PM Tomislav Karamarko, it would support or vote against him, noting that the situation was not good because new details emerged every day and that Karamarko was partly politically responsible.

"The situation isn't good because new details emerge every day. Bridge will announce its decision in time. Since new details continue emerging, it's important to wait and see how the situation develops," Petrov said in an interview with Nova TV.

The Parliament's Conflict of Interest Commission on Wednesday decided to launch a procedure to investigate a case involving Karamarko to determine if he is in a conflict of interest due to a business relationship between his wife Ana and his friend Josip Petrovic, a consultant for the Hungarian oil company MOL.

The Commission will investigate if Karamarko has taken part in any decision-making related to the ongoing arbitration between Croatia and MOL, if that can cause a conflict of interest on his part in the future, and if he has failed to declare the said business relationship.

Croatia and MOL are involved in two arbitration cases regarding management rights in the Croatian oil company INA.

Karamarko has in the meantime withdrawn from any decision-making on INA, owned jointly by the Croatian state and MOL.

The Nacional weekly recently published a contract between the agency owned by Karamarko's wife and the company owned by Petrovic. The contract shows that Petrovic paid the agency owned by Karamarko's wife 60,000 euros for advisory and media analysis services in the period after Karamarko was elected HDZ chief and before he came to power.

The leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zoran Milanovic, said yesterday that during the day he would submit a request for a parliamentary vote of no confidence in Karamarko over the business relationship between his wife and Petrovic.

Petrov said his party would announce its position on Karamarko after it obtained absolutely all information and after all details were made known. Nonetheless, he believes that Karamarko is politically responsible.

"There is certainly political responsibility as well. At least partial. It would be best if we had been aware of the information because the situation would be easier today. It would be easier to communicate some things," said Petrov.

He dismissed speculation that Bridge was behind developments regarding the INA-MOL relationship or the Karamarko case.

"I don't see why we would try to topple the government. I believe that any person, any Croatian citizen, should protect state interests and that any attempt to harm those interests should be reported. Bridge is definitely not behind these attacks," said Petrov.

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