Tolušić was released at the EPPO’s request after all 16 witnesses who he could have tampered with were questioned.
The former minister was remanded in custody on 8 July, after he and Željko Ferenc, an employee at the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, were arrested in Virovitica.
Ferenc was released from investigative custody on Thursday after having been previously suspended.
Following their arrest, the EPPO said, without revealing their identities, that Tolušić, as an owner of a family-run farm, submitted an application for a project for the construction and equipment of a winery, worth HRK 4.65 million, with the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development in early May 2020, and that the level of co-financing with European funds was 70%.
In the application, Tolušić falsely stated that the financing of the project would be secured with a loan from a financial institution. However, he did not apply for a loan, and he financed the project with money whose legal origin cannot be proved, the prosecutor’s office said.
Moreover, he did not inform the agency about the change in the financing, and was granted HRK 2.92 million in aid.
Tolušić applied to another tender, advertised by the agency on 2 June 2021 for the construction of new vineyards and the reconstruction of existing ones.
For the second application, Tolušić reportedly incited Ferenc to give a positive opinion on his application for the grant, although the application falsely stated that the piece of land in question had no crops planted in it, when in fact he had previously planted a vineyard there.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food refused to issue a positive opinion on the submitted technological project due to knowledge of the existence of a vineyard already planted there and due to other observed irregularities, the EPPO said.
After the rejection, Tolušić removed the grapevine that had been planted, obtained a new technological project and submitted it with the application.
He expected to receive a grant of HRK 1.5 million, with 85% being co-financed by EU funds, that is, more than HRK 1.3 million. However, the agency established that he did not meet the conditions, so the funding was not granted, the EPPO said.
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