Constitutional Court Upholds Karamarko’s Complaint

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 10, 2019 – The Constitutional Court has upheld a complaint which former Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko lodged against the rulings of administrative courts that confirmed the 2016 decision by the Conflict of Interest Commission that during his term as Deputy Prime Minister he was in a conflict of interest due to his business and private relations with MOL’s consultant Josip Petrović.

Karamarko’s lawyer Vesna Alaburić told Hina on Wednesday that the explanation of the Constitutional Court’s judgment would be forwarded to her and his client on Friday, but that the minutes of the court session on 2 July show that the rulings of both the Zagreb Administrative Court and High Administrative Court have been quashed.

The case will thus be sent back to these courts for reconsideration.

Alaburić said that the Constitutional Court did not go into the merits of the decision made by the Conflict of Interest Commission.

Alaburić said that she considers the decision made by that commission to be against the law and incorrect. “We believe that we will prove that in the new proceedings.”

Karamarko told the N1 commercial broadcaster that the judgement delivered by the Constitutional Court was fair. “I was not in a conflict of interest. I only wanted to help Croatia to avoid a huge financial loss,” he said.

On 15 June 2016, the Conflict of Interest Commission decided that the then Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ leader Karamarko was in a conflict of interest when he had been expressing his personal views and suggestions that Croatia should withdraw from the arbitration proceedings with the Hungarian energy group MOL over Croatia’s oil and gas company INA, and that this was evident when Karamarko expressed his opinions at the HDZ-MOST Council for Cooperation in early May.

The Commission established that Karamarko had found himself in a situation when his private interests could influence his performance in the government and could have greater weight than public interests, which is why he should not be involved in decision-making regarding the INA-MOL arbitration. Croatia’s government and MOL, INA’s two major stakeholders, are involved in two arbitration proceedings over their relations in INA.

The Commission examined the potential conflict of interest in which Karamarko might be due to business relations between the Drimia company, owned by his wife Ana, and the Peritus Savjetovanja company owned by Josip Petrović, MOL lobbyist and consultant, for two years after Karamarko took the helm of the HDZ and due to the friendship between Karamarko and Petrović.

“Personal and business relations that have existed between Karamarko and Petrović put the office-holder Karamarko in a situation when his private interests can affect his impartiality in performing his duties as the First Deputy Prime Minister and, likewise, he may be in a conflict of interest which is why he cannot participate in decision-making regarding the arbitration proceedings,” the Commission concluded then.

The Commission also noted that upon taking office as Deputy Prime Minister Karamarko failed to declare properly business relations that connected him with Petrović and Petrović’s firm which performed a series of intelligence and consulting services for MOL.

More news about Tomislav Karamarko can be found in the Politics section.


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