Chief of Staff of Former Prime Minister Milanović Arrested

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Tomislav Saucha, MP and chief of staff of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, was arrested on suspicion of forging official documents.

Tomislav Saucha (SDP), Member of Parliament and chief of staff of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, was arrested this afternoon. Prior to the arrest, Parliament voted to remove his parliamentary immunity, reports Večernji List on February 10, 2017.

The decision was adopted with just one vote against, after Parliament yesterday evening received a request from the State Attorney’s Office to allow formal investigation against Saucha due to alleged abuse of office and forgery of official documents.

The State Audit Office recently found suspicious payments in office of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović while he was in power. According to the audit report for 2015, his office paid 307,785 kuna for international travel per diems to his special advisers Neven Budak, Siniša Petrović and Slavko Goldstein. However, they claim that they did not travel anywhere and did not receive any money. Travel expenses and per diems were allegedly approved by Saucha. According to media reports, there were additional suspect payments in other years as well.

Earlier this week, Saucha gave an official statement to the prosecutors as a witness, but given the new developments he is likely to be examined once more, now as a suspect. Afterwards, the court will decide whether to detain him in remand prison. It is expected that a large number of witnesses will be questioned during the investigation. Saucha was seen his morning leaving his apartment when he declined to answer reporters’ questions. He was reportedly arrested in the office of his attorney, who said that her client would plead not guilty.

Former Prime Minister and SDP president Zoran Milanović gave a statement about the arrest of his former close associate. “He was loyal. We talked, he seemed very shaken and broken. He has denied everything and I believe him. We will not be able to talk for a while”, said Milanović about Saucha. Asked whether he would himself volunteer to give a statement to the State Attorney’s Office, Milanović said that he planned to go abroad for a few days, but that he would now stay in the country because he believed that he would be called to give a statement.

“What about your responsibility?” the reporters asked Milanović. “You tell me”, answered the former Prime Minister. “I do not want to make his situation any worse than it is, but it was not my responsibility. He was in charge of his department. The only thing that I can say is that I am angry.”


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