Ministerial Driver Arrested, Where Will “Text Messages” Scandal Lead?

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, September 26, 2018 – Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić, an official of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), said on Wednesday that he expected the prosecution and punishment of all involved in the fabricated text messages scandal, and another cabinet minister, Lovro Kuščević, who is also the HDZ political secretary, declined to comment on the case until the USKOK investigation was underway in this case.

Asked by reporters to comment on the arrest of one of the drivers in his ministry who is reportedly involved in the scandal, Minister Tolušić said that he had nothing to comment on. I heard this morning that one of the arrested men is a driver who works in the Agriculture Ministry and who has driven me from time to time, Tolušić said while coming to Government House. “Congratulations to the Interior Ministry and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH). I expect that all involved in this scandal will be prosecuted and punished,” Tolušić said.

Asked if he knew that the arrested driver, Blaž Ćurić, was in any way linked with a former Interior Ministry IT expert Franjo Varga, who has been placed in custody on suspicion of creating false texts for football mogul Zdravko Mamic, Tolušić said that until today he had no knowledge of that kind.

According to the media, Varga allegedly told the USKOK anti-corruption agency that his services had also been used by former HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko and the current HDZ deputy president, Milijan Brkić.

The media also speculate that Varga was alerted about the investigation by Ćurić.

Public Administration Minister and HDZ political secretary Lovro Kuščević said today that he did not want to comment on the investigation as long as it was not finished. Asked by the press if there were any problems between the HDZ leader and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the HDZ deputy president Brkić, Kuščević said he had not observed any such problems. “I think that they function as the party president and deputy president,” Kuščević said adding that it was important to him that the truth about the fabricated text messages scandal is established.

I think that it is important that things like that do not happen under the patronage of anybody in the party, the HDZ official said.

Plenković said on Tuesday he expected the authorities to fully investigate “absolutely everything” in the fabricated text messages affair. He was responding to questions from the press before a meeting of his HDZ party’s parliamentary group.

Asked to comment on media reports that Brkić was linked to the affair, which Brkić denied, Plenković recalled that six months ago “alleged texts” between him and then economy minister Martina Dalić were published and were “presented as some very important evidence.”

“You didn’t have to be some forensic expert in modern technologies to see that that was fabricated information, just as it turned out to be. As for this affair, I expect the relevant authorities to investigate it fully. Absolutely fully,” said Plenković.

Brkić is considered to be one of the leaders of the rightwing party faction and as an opponent of the prime minister.


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