British tabloid The Sun has issued an apology for its article of Dec 5, headlined "6 days to terror" written by a journalist who claimed to have smuggled himself from Turkey to Paris without using a passport.
However, the Croatian Interior Ministry said it had proof parts of the story were made up and published a scan of Emile Ghessen's passport as proof.
In an article billed as "a damning exposure of Europe's lax borders", Emile Ghessen says he smuggled himself 2,000 miles in six days without showing his passport once, but the Croatian Interior Ministry said "Croatian border police registered Emile Pierre Ghessen on 23 November at 2.10 pm at the Tovarnik railway border crossing where he entered the Republic of Croatia, and on 24 November at 5.20 pm at the Zagreb Airport border crossing, where he exited the Republic of Croatia."
"We apologise for publishing misleading information. We have now changed our policy regarding the use of freelancers,” The Sun said.
"Contrary to what we were told, and published, Mr Ghessen used his passport to enter and leave the Croatian city of Zagreb. This has been confirmed by the Croatian authorities," The Sun said in its clarification.
The newspaper now says it believes Mr Ghessen made use of his passport at other border points within Europe.
"We also now believe that he made use of his passport at the other border points within Europe. His story did not, therefore, demonstrate that the borders of Europe had lax controls."
The Croatian interior ministry said the story was “harmful not only to the reputation of the Croatian police, but also the Republic of Croatia”.
Interior minister Ranko Ostojic wrote on Facebook that he was glad that the police had caught “liars”, who he referred to as “so-called professional journalists”.
The story was then removed from the Sun website over the weekend and the newspaper said it was launching an investigation into its accuracy.