Sasha Radovic (75), retired colonel and anti-corruption activist, was arrested on November 17, 2011, the very day he announced his candidacy in Croatia’s December 2011 parliamentary elections. According to published reports on March 10, 2014, Sasa Radovic was sentenced to two years in jail. In his many books, Mr. Radovic had exposed political corruption and the unexplained wealth of top state leaders, including cabinet ministers and a Croatian military general allegedly involved in oil smuggling throughout the Balkans during the UN arms embargo. During the 1990s, over 250,000 lives were lost in Europe’s worst genocide since WWII.
The extortion charges against Mr. Radovic were brought by Ivan Cermak, an ex-general and alleged war-profiteer whose wealth has been investigated by journalists and anti-corruption activists. The reports of criminality connected to Mr. Cermak have been ignored by Croatia’s authorities and a politically influenced judiciary.
Croatia’s Internet portal Dalje said that “…nobody knows how a small businessman (Cermak) that was installing air-conditioning and cooling devices before the war, gained so much wealth.”
Among many other investments and divestments, retired general Cermak sold a chain of 36 Tifon gas stations to Hungarian-based MOL in 2007 for some $210 million. In February 2014, Cermak’s company Crodux Plin purchased the Croatian subsidiaries of Austrian-based oil and gas company OMV, which included 62 gas stations, for some $140 million.
It is estimated that Mr. Cermak’s unexplained wealth is over $140 million.
What is the role of former US Ambassador William Dale Montgomery?
According to the company court registry documents, former US Ambassador to Croatia William Dale Montgomery (nominated by President Clinton in October 1997 to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia and then to Yugoslavia/Serbia in November 2001) served as a board member of Crodux Plin, Croatia’s company owned by Ivan Cermak. What was Ambassador Montgomery’s role in Crodux Plin? What can he tell us about the unexplained wealth accumulated by Ivan Cermak? Ambassador Montgomery stepped down as a board member in July 2012.
In the recent report published by Washington, DC-based Global Financial Integrity, Croatia lost $17 billion (30% of GDP) in illicit financial outflows via crime, corruption, and tax evasion during 2001-2011.
Current Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, investigative journalists, and whistleblowers have accused Croatia’s Chief State Prosecutor Mladen Bajic of blocking corruption investigations.
The EU’s Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Croatia, released on March 26, 2013, urged that “Regarding the system for checking on dismissals of criminal cases by the prosecutor, the current system does not provide for independent checks on decisions by State prosecutors to dismiss reports of crime.”
The rotating grip on Croatia’s parlous judicial systems
“This government is the worst in applying pressures on the judiciary in Croatia so far.”
“… my personal belief is that certain provisions of the Pre-bankruptcy Settlements Act and their application in specific cases constitute a violation of the Constitution and other laws to the detriment of creditors, the state budget, and thus all citizens of the Republic of Croatia, while providing some creditors favorable conditions for the realization of their claims, and in line with my conscience and duty entrusted to me as a judge, I was required to make a decision about stopping the process until the decision on my request for a constitutional review of some of its provisions is reached by Croatia’s Constitutional Court.”
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom