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zdravko mamić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

The latest investigation by the USKOK anti-corruption agency against the most powerful man of Croatia's football, Zdravko Mamic, and four other suspects is a result of months of investigative activities by the Finance Ministry tax fraud investigators.

Those investigators have reportedly established that since 2004 more than 10 million euros has been siphoned from the Dinamo football club through off-shore companies. Prosecutors suspect that Mamic's son Mario and businessmen Igor Krota and Sandro Stipancic, who were the last to be questioned at USKOK on Thursday morning, were in charge of those operations.

On Wednesday evening, the police brought before USKOK investigators Dinamo chief executive Mamic, Croatian Football Federation chief executive Damir Vrbanovic and Mario Mamic. They all denied the charges against them, after which they were placed back in police custody.

After the last two suspects were questioned on Thursday morning, USKOK decided to request that all five be placed in investigative custody.

The prosecutors believe that in the period from December 2004 to April 2015 Zdravko Mamic, in his capacity as a deputy chief executive and member of the management board of Dinamo, conspired with Vrbanovic, the chief executive and member of the management board of Dinamo, his son Mario, and with Krota and Stipancic, in their capacities as managers or procurers of companies based in Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and Hong Kong, in order to obtain illegal gain at the expense of Dinamo.

Mamic and his son agreed with Krota and Stipancic the conclusion of fictitious agreements and contracts between Dinamo and companies from Switzerland, Great Britain and Hong Kong on the take-over of Dinamo's non-existing debts to players and on non-existing brokering services in player transfers, which were signed by Mamic and Vrbanovic on Dinamo's behalf.

After the said companies issued bills for such non-existing services, Mamic ordered payments from Dinamo's funds to those companies even though he was aware that they had not performed any services related to player transfers.

The prosecutors also claim that Mamic and his son agreed "the conclusion of contracts with players under which damages for their possible transfer to another club, to be claimed by Dinamo, will be paid entirely to a company from the United Arab Emirates."

That way companies owned by Mario Mamic, Krota and Stipancic were paid in excess of ten million euros and half a million pounds sterling of Dinamo's funds, USKOK said.

According to media reports, the controversial transfers include those of Mario Mandzukic, Eduardo da Silva, Dejan Lovren, Mathias Chago, Davor Vugrinec and Anderson Costa.

Related stories

Mario Mamic can be released on bail

Dinamo boss placed in investigative custody

Dinamo boss refused bail

Mamic, Vrbanovic present their defence, deny charges

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