MP Accused of Offering Bribe to Journalist Loses Immunity

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Franjo Lucić was recorded trying to bribe a journalist.

HDZ’s Member of Parliament Franjo Lucić said on Tuesday he welcomed the decision of the Parliamentary Commission on Immunity, which granted permission to the Office of State Prosecutor to launch legal proceedings against him. Lucić denied he had ever offered a bribe to journalist Drago Hedl, reports Večernji List on 8 August 2017.

“I have nothing against the initiation of the proceedings. In fact, I welcome such decision, given the situation I find myself in,” said Lucić. He stressed that he did not offer a bribe to Hedl nor should he be held responsible for that, because, as he said, “Hedl is neither an official person or a legal entity.” He pointed out that he wanted to prove his innocence after what he described as a media witch hunt against him, his family and his Tofrado company.

He explained that the company has been operating in full accordance with Croatian laws since 1991. He also said that all the state institutions dealing with the supervision of business activities had audited his company, including on the basis of various anonymous submissions against him. Among these institutions, he listed the Tax Administration, the Ministry of Finance, the Office of State Prosecutor, the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime, and the Special Criminal Department, which all investigated the origin of his assets.

Lucić stressed that, during all these checks, “no suspicious, let alone criminal actions have ever been found.” He believes that these attacks are politically motivated and orchestrated by his opponents from Požega-Slavonia County, who want to destroy his reputation.

“First and foremost, I am the head of HDZ in Požega-Slavonia County where we had fantastic results in the recent local elections. Political opponents are nowhere to be seen, and this is the only way they can harm me, as the leader,” said Lucić.

On Tuesday, the Commission unanimously approved the launch of criminal proceedings against Lucić. In its motion, the Office of State Prosecutor claims that it has already interrogated Hedl and two other witnesses. “On 26 July, Hedl, who was collecting information on Lucić’s business operations and financial transactions, was offered cash in return for not writing a newspaper article. Lucić said he would pay Hedl three times his usual writing fee not to finish the piece.”

Hedl recorded the phone conversation and later published it. Lucić then resigned from his party positions, although he remains a member of Parliament.

Translated from Večernji List.


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