Two suspects in Krs-Padene wind park case who fled to BiH extradited to Croatia

NEWS 12.02.2021 20:45
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Milenko Basic and Dragan Stipic, businessmen suspected of influence-peddling and bribe-offering in the Krs-Padene wind park scandal who escaped to Bosnia and Herzegovina, have been extradited to Croatia and are in Zagreb's Remetinec prison.

The Croatian Ministry of the Interior said it was looking into how the two men had crossed the border as there was no official information on it.

“The Ministry does not have data on the persons in question having crossed the state border and has been conducting checks to establish the circumstances that preceded their arrival at the prison in Zagreb,” the ministry said in response to a query by Hina.

The warrant for the arrest of the two men, who have both Croatian and Bosnia and Herzegovina citizenship, was issued by Croatia at the end of May 2020 after a Zagreb County Court investigating judge ruled, at the request of the USKOK anti-corruption office, that persons arrested in the wind park affair be placed in custody.

Among them was the prime suspect, a former State Secretary at the Public Administration Ministry and former HDZ mayor of Knin, Josipa Rimac, whom Basic, owner of the Lager company from Posusje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Stipic, an executive in that company, had allegedly offered a bribe of €45,000 to get preferential treatment in obtaining permits for the construction of the Krs-Padene wind park.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina made rulings on Basic and Stipic's extradition in November and December 2020 respectively.

The two businessmen are currently the only suspects in the case to be in custody since Rimac was released at the end of September 2020 and prior to her release, also released were the HDZ mayor of Gracac, Natasa Turbic, a secretary to the Agriculture Minister, Ruzica Njavro, Sibenik businessman Ante Sladic, and Knin town councillor Marinko Tokmacija.

One of those implicated in the case, when the investigation was last expanded, is former minister Gabrijela Zalac, who allegedly asked Rimac to fix her brother's public service test.

The investigation also covers a State Secretary at the War Veterans Ministry, Ivan Vukic, who is charged with having interceded to help Minister Tomislav Medved's chauffeur pass an exam, as well as Nevenka Benic, a state secretary at the same ministry.

Basic and Stipic are to be questioned by USKOK investigators and the investigation in the case is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

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