MiG-21, borbeni avion.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Tomislav Mavrovic, used under CC BY-ND

USKOK, the Croatian body that investigates serious or complex fraud and corruption, has launched an investigation against two Croatian nationals on suspicion of graft in the overhaul of MiG-21 aircraft, following charges pressed by the military police.

The information about the probe was posted on the USKOK web site on Tuesday evening. However, the prosecutors did not reveal the identity of the two suspects who were allegedly involved in bribe-giving and bribe-taking in connection with contract awarding procedures for the overhaul of the military planes in Ukraine.

According to unofficial information, one suspect is an executive in the Zagreb-based Aeronautical Technical Centre specialised in military and civil aircraft maintenance, and the other is a representative of the Ukrainian company that overhauled the Croatian planes.

In March this year the Defence Ministry said that the Military Security and Intelligence Agency and the Military Police had found out that it was necessary to re-examine the overhaul and procurement of MiG-21 aircraft.

In mid-March media outlets reported that the Military Police were conducting a large-scale investigation into the overhaul of Croatia's MiG-21 combat aircraft in Ukraine due to irregularities and suspicion of corruption. In July 2015, Ukraine delivered 12 overhauled aircraft to the Croatian Air Force and after eight months it has only three at its disposal, as five have been withdrawn, according to the media.

Defence Minister Josip Buljevic said in late March that military security and military police staff had provided the prosecutorial authorities with data they had collected regarding the scandal concerning the overhaul and procurement of MiG-21 aircraft, adding that it was up to the prosecution to carry out an investigation.

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