17:03 / 28.01.2023.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Investigation into disappearance of Russian yacht completed, four people in custody

Missing yacht

Missing yacht

Foto: HTV / HRT

Police officers of the Sibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia police administrations, in coordination with the Criminal Police Directorate, have completed a criminal investigation of four Croatian citizens due to the existence of reasonable suspicion that they have violated the provisions of the Law on International Restrictions. The four suspects were then handed over to the custody supervisor of the Šibenik-Knin police administration and criminal charges were filed against them at the Šibenik Municipal State Attorney's Office.

The investigation into the mysterious disappearance of the Russian luxury yacht "Irina VU" from the marina in Betina has been completed. We recall that yesterday Split police detained eight people for questioning, and four were arrested. The police announced what they discovered.

“It was determined by the criminal investigation that a 58-year-old man who, as the first suspect in his capacity as captain, organized three other people aged 34 to 50 together with two other people as passengers on the vessel Irina Vu. They sailed into international waters in October 2022. The captain was notified of an international asset restriction measure. They were brought to the detention supervisor of the Šibenik-Knin Police Administration and criminal charges were filed. Questioning at the State Attorney's Office will follow and after that the State Attorney will make a decision, either suggest that they go to the investigating judge who will decide on a possible detention or let them defend themselves out of custody,” said Šime Pavić, the spokesman for the Šibenik-Knin Police Administration.

HRT journalist Hrvoje Gunjača reported from Šibenik.

“Four people were arrested, among them the crew members who transferred the yacht from Croatia to Turkey. However, the director of the shipyard in Betina is not among them. Those arrested will soon, after being questioned by police, be brought to the Municipal State Attorney's Office in Šibenik. They will be re-questioned there. Although the details of the investigation are secret and the State Attorney’s Office does not provide official information about them, we have learned that the investigators are most interested in the details of who financed the transfer of the yacht from Croatia to Turkey,” said Gunjača.

The Municipal State Attorney's Office must then make a decision whether to request a one-month pretrial detention for those arrested or to allow them to follow the rest of the investigation out of custody. The judge of the County Court in Šibenik should make the eventual decision on determining a one-month pretrial detention.

“However, as we have learned, all those questioned and detained in this investigation so far claim that they did not have any official information that it was about frozen property, nor was there any seal on the ship,” said Gunjača.

“Nothing is clear here and everything is clear. People left the country without any problems, they went through all the institutions, all instances properly. Obviously, something in the system did not work. I guess they were called for debriefings. This apprehension is really a bit strange,” said the court expert for maritime transport Damir Višić.

Source: HRT

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