In August, as we already reported, several people were arrested for alleged wrongdoing in gas trading, in which INA oil company was defrauded for almost a billion HRK. Those were Damir Škugor, a high-ranking executive in INA, his father, the owners of the OMS Upravljanje company, Goran Husić and Josip Šurjak, and Marija Ratkić, CEO of the Plinara istočne Slavonije gas company. Yesterday, the CEO of the EVN Croatia Plin company Vlado Mandić and former Škugor’s deputy in INA, Stjepan Leko were also arrested.
The investigators from the USKOK office today explained in detail how the scheme was supposed to work.
They established that the 47-year-old, in his capacity as a responsible person of the oil company (this is referring to Škugor), when ensuring the sale of gas to the customer at a preferential price, and at the moment when there was a significant increase in the price of gas on the market, agreed with the 39-year-old (Leko), a 44-year-old as a member and director of a private natural gas trading company (Husić) and a 59-year-old woman as a director of a gas supply company (Ratkić), pre-dated requests for offers and pre-dated offers to buy gas at extremely low prices. That’s how they intended to show that such an agreement for the purchase of natural gas at extremely low prices was reached in December 2020. In reality, these deals were made immediately before the first gas delivery in July 2021 with one customer, and in November 2021 with another customer. Thus, they untruthfully presented that the agreement between the trading companies as buyers and the oil company as the seller of natural gas was reached in December 2020, although in reality such an agreement was reached at a time when the prices on the gas market rose so much that they guaranteed a significant profit on the sale of gas at the market price.
A similar scheme allegedly happened between Škugor and Leko from INA and Mandić from EVN Croatia Plin company: they also pre-dated the offers to dates when the natural gas was cheaper than on the actual days when the offers were created and sales executed. That way, it is said, they defrauded INA for almost half a million Euro, and created a situation where further damage would’ve been done in 2023 and 2024. Also, some of the arrested are accused of perpetrating various forms of money-laundering.
Škugor is still in jail, after his arrest in August, and now the two new suspects in the INA scandal were sent there as well.