Hacking Affair Expands after New Information Comes to Light

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 8, 2019 – Former police IT specialist Franjo Varga, a suspect in the hacking affair, left a police station in the eastern city of Osijek on Tuesday evening while police are continuing the investigation against him on the suspicion that he revealed official secrets and committed confidentiality breaches.

“The police will inform the prosecutor’s office in Zagreb of the results of today’s search of the suspect’s home. The search of the confiscated electronic equipment continues,” sources at the Ministry of the Interior said.

The reason for the latest police action was an article in the Nacional weekly of April 30, headlined “Hacking transcripts”, in which the weekly revealed the identities, along with Deputy Parliament Speaker and HDZ party vice-president Milijan Brkić’s wife, of another two of four persons whose mobile phone communications were allegedly intercepted by Brkić, his brother Jozo Brkić, Milijan Brkić’s friend Blać Curić, and Varga.

After the article was published, prosecutors said that they had instructed the police to launch a preliminary investigation on the suspicion of disclosure of official secrets and a confidentiality breach, with investigators searching Varga’s home on Tuesday morning.

Varga was then taken to Osijek for a police questioning, with police officials saying that he is suspected of sharing, without permission, information from the investigation against him and the other suspects.

The editor-in-chief of Nacional weekly, Berislav Jelinić, was also questioned by police, in Zagreb, in connection with the latest developments.

“I cannot reveal what the questioning was about because under the Criminal Procedure Act, the investigation is confidential. I did not reveal the source of information. We discussed the broader context of the fake texts affair. I stated my opinion about it. Generally, it is good that state institutions are doing their job. Unlike some, who complain that institutions are invading their privacy, I have no objection to the conduct of state institutions,” Jelinić told the nacional.hr portal.

The weekly, which has been following the fake texts scandal for months, said in its latest issue that in March 2018, Varga’s co-defendant Curić, who is Brkić’s close friend, asked Varga to monitor Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović’s emails, which Varga reportedly did not want.

The Ministry of the Interior then said that police had relayed the information on the case to the prosecutorial authorities and that the investigation in the case was continuing.

The USKOK anti-corruption office suspects Varga and Curić of obstruction of evidence and of aiding and abetting in the commission of said crime.

Prosecutors contend that Varga created fake text messages, including for former football mogul Zdravko Mamić, and that last September Curić warned Varga that he was under investigation.

Police said recently they had brought charges against Milijan Brkić, his brother Jozo Brkić, Varga and Curić, for committing cybernetic offences against several persons.

Brkić was recently questioned for intercepting his former wife’s emails by using Varga’s services.

The police allegedly found out about computer hacking by examining the computers and documents seized in the case against Varga and Curić.

The prosecutorial authorities have said that the investigation is confidential for the sake of protection of the private lives of the women whose computer systems were hacked.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during a visit to Brussels on Tuesday that he could not comment on media reports that Milijan Brkić’s friend Blaž Curić had ordered Varga to monitor Minister of the Interior Božinović’s emails because he did not have the necessary information on the case.

“I really do not have information related to the investigation nor can I have it as Prime Minister. We want light to be fully shed on the entire affair, which is what I have been saying from the start,” Plenković said when asked by reporters if he or his team had been targeted by the alleged hackers.

More news about the scandal can be found in the Politics section.


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