Pre-trial detention, requested by the USKOK Office for Prevention of Corruption and Organized Crime, has been ordered for four suspects out of a total of 13 detainees in the Fictitious Bankruptcies affair.
It is estimated that bankruptcy debtors suffered damages of 30 million kuna in all these processes. Among those arrested are Commercial Court judge Mihael Kovačić and Bankruptcy Commissioner Iva Petanjek.
“In relation to Mr. Kovačić, investigative custody has been ordered for a period of 30 days, under article 3: danger of repeating the criminal act, firstly because he is still formally a commercial court judge. Even though he has submitted a request to be relieved of duty as of April 30th, it is believed that as such, he could still commit a new criminal act, even though there are no objective circumstances for this. Considering the fact that a request for disciplinary punishment has already been previously submitted, we will wait for a decision by the state court council, and if a decision on temporary suspension is adopted we will immediately submit a request for release the same day, because there will no longer be a danger of repeating the criminal act,” said Kovačić’s lawyer Toni Ivandić.
“I can confirm that the investigative judge has ordered Iva Petanjek into investigative custody for a period of 30 days, due to a danger of influencing witnesses and repeating the criminal act. Normally, we as the defence will appeal this to the council and ask for the decision to be quashed and for her to be released,” said Petanjek’s lawyer Vlado Kartelo.
Justice minister Ivan Malenica commented on the arrest of the judge and bankruptcy commissioners.
“I wouldn't want to prejudge anything or adopt any conclusions regarding this concrete case, but the fact that a judge is under investigation by the Office for Prevention of Corruption and Organized Crime casts a shadow over the entire judiciary, because judges are those that are supposed to be reputable and honest, especially in performing their judicial duties. Such cases diminish the trust of citizens in the courts,” said Malenica.