Branko Bačić (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) Branko Bačić (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

Reporters at the Nacional weekly allege the investigation had been compromised by leaks made by Deputy Parliament Speaker and HDZ vice president Milijan Brkić - a top law enforcement official at the time.

The HDZ's Branko Bačić said on Croatian radio on Saturday that he believed in the presumption of innocence and would not draw conclusions on his party colleague based on speculation.

"I respect the principle of the presumption of innocence. And that is how I conduct myself with all of my friends in the party and with every Croatian citizen. Therefore, I cannot come to any conclusion that would result in accusations against anyone based on a newspaper article," said Bačić.

Deputy Prime Minister Predrag Štromar said it was up to the police to conduct an investigation: "This is a job for the police and the State Attorney's Office. I expect those institutions to do their jobs and conduct a detailed investigation. And I am confident that they will. Once that is completed, we politicians will be able to comment."

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković said an investigation was underway into everyone who had access to the missing file. He also conceded that the affair would undoubtedly have a negative impact on public opinion: "This is a big blow to the justice system and it will definitely have a negative impact on citizens' impressions of the justice system - there is no doubt about it. I find this all very upsetting."

Source: HRT