MOL Lobbyist Reportedly Paid Half a Million Kuna to Karamarko’s Wife for Consulting Services

Total Croatia News

If true, this might explain why HDZ wants to abandon INA arbitration proceedings with MOL.

“For almost two years, Josip Petrović, a lobbyist for MOL, through his company Peritus Savjetovanje, was paying for consulting services to the Drimia company, owned by Ana Šarić Karamarko, wife of the First Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko”, report Nacional and on May 10, 2016.

The contract was signed on 1 February 2013 between Petrović’s Peritus Savjetovanje company and Drimia agency, owned by Ana Šarić, Karamarko’s then partner and now wife. The contract was valid until 31 January 2015. Petrović was paying her for consulting services and media analysis 2,500 euros per month. In total, at least half a million kuna were paid.

One of the reasons for conflicts in the ruling coalition between MOST leader Božo Petrov and HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko have been the arbitration proceedings with MOL, and Petrov publicly criticized Karamarko due to his friendship with Jozo Petrović.

Petrović claimed that he knew Karamarko just as a friend from college days and that he was working in the interest of Croatia. Karamarko was quite annoyed by questions about Petrović at the time. “I was working with Mr. Petrović at the Zagreb Basketball Club in 1991. This question is out of place. I do not ask your editors who their friends are”, said Karamarko to reporters at the time.

However, now it seems clear that Petrović and Karamarko are connected with more than just friendship.

President of the MOST Parliamentary Group Miroslav Šimić did not want to say what would MOST do, as long as Karamarko himself does not provide his explanation and until it is determined whether the published documents truly are credible. He expected that Karamarko would make a statement later today regarding the allegations. He also reiterated MOST’s position about the arbitration proceedings. “We believe that the arbitration must proceed. This is the position of the relevant minister as well. I think that answers must be given by Mr. Karamarko. If it turns out that the documents are authentic, then he cannot escape from giving answers”, said Šimić.

MOST’s MP Miro Bulj called on the authorities to “check the Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers Karamarko and Petrov, economy and entrepreneurship ministers, and all other ministers and MPs whether they are in some kind of cooperation with MOL’s consultants or MOL”, said Bulj, calling on the State Attorney’s Office and the Office for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime “to do their job”. “You cannot be in government or in Parliament, and be a consultant to a company which is taking away our INA”, said Bulj.

Former Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak (HNS) said that “if this is true, then there must be political consequences”. At an earlier press conference, Vrdoljak said that Karamarko should step down if the documents are authentic.


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