Political Scandals Multiplying

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 23, 2018 – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović commented on Tuesday on the involvement of her national security advisor Vlado Galić in the “fake text messages” scandal, saying that she was not aware that Galić had contacted the main protagonist in the scandal, Franjo Varga, a former police IT specialist accused of making fake text messages, but she would not give any statement on Galić’s behalf.

According to the Nacional weekly, Galić, the president’s current advisor on defence and national security, was one of the persons who had contacted Varga. At the time when the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was run by Tomislav Karamarko, Galić was in charge of party logistics.

Nacional claims that Varga’s two main contacts in the HDZ were Galić and Milijan Brkić, current HDZ vice-president and deputy parliament speaker.

“I have talked with Mr Galić. What we see are still insinuations. Galić is willing to give a statement to the relevant institutions and I would stop at that. Let state institutions do their job. Galić did mention having talked to Varga on several occasions, but not nearly as frequently as insinuated by the media. I respect the three-branch division of authority and will not interfere in the work of the police, judicial bodies or prosecutorial authorities, they should be allowed to finish their job,” Grabar-Kitarović told reporters on the margins of a forum of the Three Seas Initiative in Zagreb.

“I think that Galić told me that he saw Varga two times in person, and that there were some other contacts, but I should not be speaking about it on Mr Galić’s behalf. I would like him to give a statement to the relevant bodies first, if they believe that it is necessary, and I think it would be good for him to go public and explain his role in the affair,” she said when asked about the nature of the contacts between Varga and Galić.

Grabar-Kitarović said that she hoped the text messages affair was not about a conflict within the HDZ party, adding that the prime minister had never hinted at such a possibility.

She said that she first learned of attempts to topple Prime Minister Plenković in the latest issue of Nacional weekly, which reported that investigators working on the fake text messages case had found fake documents designed to accuse Prime Minister Plenkovic of corruption. “I read about it for the first time in the papers. I talked yesterday to Security Intelligence Service (SOA) chief Danijel Markić and he did not give me any indications in that regard. If that is true, I expect the relevant agencies to contact me and then we will discuss the matter because that changes the whole situation,” she stressed.

“Judging from what I have heard from the relevant services, from the prime minister and the parliament speaker, this is about criminal activities of individuals whose services were possibly used by other individuals. If there are indications of attempts to topple the prime minister, then it is a matter of national security and stability, and state institutions must deal with it. I can exert political influence up to a certain point, but I have to respect the autonomy of state institutions,” she said.

With regard to the publication of more e-mail correspondence regarding the Borg group – people involved in the making of Lex Agrokor – which shows that that law, designed to regulate the restructuring of that ailing food and retail group, was changed at the last minute to favour the US fund Knighthead, Grabar-Kitarović said that she was not familiar with the information and that she learned of it from the media, as well as that she hoped prosecutorial authorities and other relevant institutions would state their position on the matter.

She said that the case “is, unfortunately, not over yet” and repeated that state institutions should investigate it fully.

“The main difference between the text messages scandal and what happened in Agrokor is that a group of very serious state officials communicated by using improper means of communication in making a law that was crucial for the stabilisation and survival of the national economy and for preventing a chain reaction. As president, I had the impression in that case that national security was at stake because state institutions were bypassed and instruments that were not appropriate were used,” said Grabar-Kitarović.


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