Serbia Accuses Croatia of Selling Its Military’s Hotel

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We will not do nothing and allow Croatia put to a public auction the former Yugoslav military resort in Baška Voda, said Zoran Ristić, the president of the “Stolen Property” association from Serbia. He said that the hotel was actually Serbia’s property, reports Večernji List on Octobr 31, 2018.

In the article “Croats Are Selling Our Military Hotel”, the Večernje Novosti daily from Serbia write that “the famous military resort in Baška Voda is the first piece of real estate that the Croatian authorities have put up for sale by public tender under the new law on state property management.” The law allegedly allows for the lease of real estate “belonging to companies, institutions and banks from the former Yugoslavia, which Croatia transferred to its own ownership in 1991.”

Ristić pointed out that the former Sutjeska hotel, later renamed Croatia, was built in Baška Voda by the Hidrogradnja company from Sarajevo, and that it gave it to the Yugoslav federal ministry of defence in the late 1980s to finish the construction, with a request that company’s workers would be allowed to use it during the summer months. Later, Hidrogradnja added another floor to the hotel, which was financed by the military.

“Before the war, the then Yugoslav defence ministry, whose legal successor is Serbia’s defence ministry, entered its ownership of the hotel in the land registry in Makarska. The hotel has three floors, with 180 rooms, and 12,500 square metres of gross surface,” Ristić explained, adding that “at the outset of the war, the hotel, just like all other Serbian properties, was taken over by the Croatian state which transferred the ownership to itself.”

He said that the Croatian government announced a public invitation for purchase of the hotel on September 13, and that the deadline for applications expired on October 26, with three bids received. The highest price, of about two million euro, was offered by the Marea Alta company from Makarska, owned by Herzegovina entrepreneur Petar Ćorluka, also known as the “the king of the toilet paper” since he made his fortune as owner of the well-known Violeta brand. Other two bids were reportedly received from the Adria Coste Tourism company from Zagreb and Maros Nekretnine from Slatina.

Ristić explained that he had sent information about the case to Serbia’s Directorate for Property, which collects data on the properties of Serbian institutions and companies in Croatia.

“This hotel has not yet been subject to court proceedings and that is probably why it was the first to be offered for sale. But we are not going to just sit and do nothing,” said Ristić. The association has already contacted the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, challenging Croatia for discrimination, and is preparing for arbitration proceedings in The Hague.

Večernje Novosti claim there are around 180 cases being considered by the Croatian courts involving restitution of property owned by companies and institutions from Serbia.

For more articles on relations between Croatia and Serbia, click here.


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