Bandić, Sanader, Vidošević, Horvatinčić… List of Croatian Arrests Which Resulted in – Nothing

Lauren Simmonds

In case you were wondering how this situation with Agrokor might turn out…

With the arrests of numerous prominent people from the ailing Agrokor Group having shaken the country once again over recent days, not to mention Tomislav Horvatinčić’s recent acquittal despite him having killed numerous people, why not use the opportunity to look back at all the wonderful legal spectacles we’ve had to endure over the past decade? Can you guess how all these arrests and proceedings turned out? Ever wondered just what happened to all these people? Take a wild guess! Nothing!

As RTL writes on the 17th of October, 2017, Here we are, seven years after the spectacular arrest of the former prime minister in Austria – and no, the case isn’t closed yet. As they say in England, it isn’t over until the fat lady sings and Ivo Sanader’s ”work” with the courts is still going through the motions, it is far from over, nor is it likely to be any time soon.

“It’s hard to tell what it is about the Croatian judiciary [system], maybe we should first turn to Croatian law, let’s not forget that both Croatian criminal law and the Criminal Procedure Act have been changed several times in the last couple of years,” comments Ana Raić Knežević, a Telegram journalist.

Three years ago, in public, on an otherwise normal Sunday afternoon, Zagreb’s long-time mayor Milan Bandić was arrested. Houses, garages and second homes were searched, as well as Zagreb Holding and the City Government. Bandić was arrested amid suspicions surrounding his damaging of the city budget and the illegal use of several hundred thousand kuna. Owing to Bandić’s then questionable state of health and frequent surgeries, nothing happened, and of course, Milan Bandić is still Zagreb’s mayor.

In the early hours of the 12th of November 2013, Nadan Vidošević was arrested on suspicion of abusing his position and authority and withdrawing 32 million kuna from HGK through the firm Remorker. Upon searching his office and his home, an enormous amount of items were found which would suggest that he had indeed partaken in what he had been accused of.

The former head of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce spent a mere five months in Remetinec (prison), and although he was released more than three years ago, the case is still ongoing.

Back in 2008, Index 3 happened, and it involved four different Zagreb faculties. The police conducted more than 190 searches and arrested 105 people. This was another case of a double trial. The final verdict was issued only in June this year – a whole nine years after the beginning of the entire thing.

Deša Milkotin Tomić, a well-known professor of trade law, was sentenced to a mere 730 hours of humanitarian work. The chief mediator of the whole thing, Milan Cevid, ended up with the worst sentence – he was sentenced to a whole two years in prison, while six other professors were acquitted of their respective charges.

The freshest in our collective memory is the most recent case, which one can really only roll their eyes at. Call me cruel and cold, but the longer you’re exposed to these farces in your day to day life, the more you learn to maintain a healthy distance and tune certain things out. As absolutely horrendous as the case of Zagreb entrepreneur Tomislav Horvatinčić’s acquittal is, for many of us who have seen this type of thing happen time and time again, it doesn’t really come as much of a shock.

Horvatinčić was acquitted of his charges of causing the deaths of an innocent Italian couple in a maritime accident back in 2011. During his first trial (yes, there has been more than one), he claimed one thing. On the second trial, he claimed quite another. Horvatinčić said he’d been ”suffering from syncope”, which of course, is impossible to ”suffer from” considering the basic fact that syncope (feeling faint/dizzy or fainting) is a symptom that lasts a few seconds, it isn’t a condition in itself. Amazingly, this excuse was apparently more than enough of a reason to allow Mr. Horvatinčić to walk off, scott-free into the sunset, with all his charges dropped, and his drivers license retained.

It is worth mentioning the truly awful case of Horvatinčić taking the lives of an Italian couple isn’t the first time he has been involved in such incidents, there have been several most serious similar incidents in which Horvatinčić has somehow managed to slither away and escape facing justice. But of course, why does any of that matter and why should any competent person bother looking into his clearly questionable character? Obviously, there is no need. Let us all just hope that the next time we carelessly take someone’s life that we can say we felt a bit dizzy and be let off the hook for it.

Now, you ask, what will become of Croatia’s most notorious ”gazda”, Ivica Todorić, amid the increasingly murky waters of the Agrokor crisis and the multiple arrests we’ve witnessed in the past couple of days?  While it is true that several arrests of formerly powerful people in Agrokor’s Administration have been made, the man himself is somewhere in London, and sources close to him claim he will attempt to apply for asylum in the United Kingdom.

Owing to the European Convention on Human Rights, and the fact that he has indeed legally registered his residence in the British capital, he might even be granted that status given his personal circumstances and the tools at his disposal. If we’re asking what might happen to the big boss should the net really close in on him, then such an open question leaves things somewhat open to the imagination, so, think a bit. Yes, you thought right – probably nothing. 

While for some unknown reason it still seems to come as a surprise to some – money talks, it always has and it always will. Whether that is ethical, moral or justifiable is an entirely different subject and regardless of the answer, the respective outcomes of these cases involving people of this level are very unlikely to involve a true sense of justice.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment