By Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandic was arrested yesterday along with 18 more persons, by order of the Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK), on suspicion of multiple offenses to the detriment of the city.
They will be filed with criminal charges on reasonable suspicion that they committed a number of corruption offenses, including abusing their power and authority to influence trading.
After hours of searching his flat, Bandic was taken to a police USKOK unit in Zagreb where he spent the night.
At the same time, the residences of the president of the Zagreb Holding Slobodan Ljubicic and CEO of CIOS Petar Pripuz were investigated and their offices were to be searched next this morning.
Bandic`s attorney Kresimir Krsnik said that these arrests were to draw public attention from one big and very important trial, which takes place currently in Germany.
He stressed that he would ask the USKOK to define which part of the investigation is confidential and which can be shared with the public, since as he said for croatian radio, when it suited them they would share information with the media.
Unofficial sources claim that the main target of the police investigation is related to the business of waste management with reference to the city’s contracts with companies owned by Pripuz, worth approximately 7.5 million kuna (978 thousand euro).
According to Croatian radio television, Bandic is also charged with fraud in the presidential campaign in 2009.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bandic, Martina Susnjara told Croatian news agency (Hina) that there was no problem, because Mayor had two deputies – Sandra Svaljek and Vesna Kusin – and that the city will continue to function normally.