Chief State Prosecutor Confirms Is a Freemason

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 19, 2020 – Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić has confirmed he is a Freemason and said doctor Nikica Gabrić tried to influence a preliminary investigation into three reporters who allegedly blackmailed him, demanding that he give them 200,000 kuna or they would publish photographs of a ceremony of the Masonic lodge to which he belongs.

Asked by Hina to comment on an article in the Nacional weekly which said that Jelenić was a Freemason and that Vuk Radić, a reporter for the 7Dnevno weekly and one of the suspected blackmailers, was also a Freemason who attended Jelenić’s initiation, meaning that he could blackmail Jelenić with public exposure, the chief state prosecutor confirmed on Tuesday that he had been a Freemason since March 2018.

He explained that in early 2018 he had been invited to join a Masonic lodge which at the time was not headed by Gabrić.

Jelenić added that after he was admitted to the Grand Orient association, he took part in one more meeting of the association, which he and several other members walked out of in October 2018, after it was taken over by Gabrić.

“The members who left the association established an association of the same kind of which I am a member. Since the end of March 2018, due to my busy schedule, I have not participated in any way in the work of the association led by Nikica Gabrić, which I left, or in the work of the newly-founded association,” said Jelenić.

In a comment on the case of attempted blackmail of Gabrić, Jelenić said that he obtained information on the case from his deputy Mladen Bajić, a friend of Gabrić to whom Gabrić submitted a report on the attempted blackmail.

“For the sake of ensuring prompt action, as the report seemed to indicate the need for it, over the weekend I arranged a visit by Gabrić to the competent prosecutor’s office, where I had a brief conversation with him during which he confirmed that he suspected a criminal offence, after which the competent prosecutor’s office continued with its activities, accepting a formal criminal report that was submitted, and took other actions within its jurisdiction,” Jelenić said in a statement.

He added that during the preliminary investigation, “for reasons known only to him”, Gabrić tried to exert direct influence on him through the competent prosecutor’s office.

“As I could in no way allow it for the sake of the protection of the lawfulness of the proceedings, I agreed with the competent prosecutor that no action should be taken to ban the publishing of the said weekly as there was no legal basis for it, and I asked that in this case, as in any other case, action be taken solely and exclusively based on the law, namely that the procedure to collect evidence not be expanded to include persons who were not suspected of involvement in that or any other related criminal act, and that investigative custody not be proposed if there is no legal basis for it,” said Jelenić.

He said that the decision to arrest the suspects was entirely within the remit of the police, which the state prosecutor cannot and must not influence and that he did not influence the work of the competent prosecutor’s office in the case, contrary to what the article in the Nacional weekly suggested.

Noting that the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) and he did not have jurisdiction over the case, Jelenić said that all evidence collected during the investigation would be made available to the defence, and that if an indictment was issued, it would also be made available to the court and the public.

Jelenić also explained that the Masonic lodge of which he was a member was a civic association established in line with Croatian laws and that information on membership in it was a personal matter of every member, and that only members themselves were authorised to make public their membership.

“The duty for members to help one another in no way includes assistance that would be illegal nor is any act, code or rules of work of the association above the law or contrary to the law and it must not be above the law or contrary to it,” he said.

DORH said that membership of the association does not put Jelenić, either personally or as the chief state prosecutor, “in any greater or different potential conflict of interest than, for example, would be the case with criminal proceedings in which suspects or victims are prosecutors as members of the organisation which he heads.”

DORH also said that in his work so far and before the extortion case, Jelenić had not, either personally or as chief state prosecutor, met with members of the association as suspects or victims and that in the case at hand, he acted as he would have acted in any other criminal case.

Zagreb police last Friday arrested the editor-in-chief of the 7Dnevno weekly and portal, Marko Cigoj, his deputy Vuk Radić and director Marija Dekanić on the suspicion of attempted extortion.

According to unofficial information, in recent weeks the three blackmailed ophthalmologist Nikica Gabrić, founder and director of the Svjetlost eye clinic.

The reporters told Grabrić they would withdraw a planned series of articles on him, whose content would allegedly compromise him, in exchange for adequate compensation for their ‘costs’.

In doing so, they did not demand a specific amount of money but that his clinic and interested partners pay for advertisements on a certain number of pages in the 7Dnevno weekly. The advertisements would reportedly cost around 200,000 kuna (approx. €27,000).

Gabrić reportedly refused the offer, and the series of articles in which he is called the head of a Masonic lodge was published.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.


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