Skip to main content
European Union flag

Update: Three arrested in Croatia on suspicion of receiving and giving bribes in multi-million euro infrastructure project

Published on

Croatian version below

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) has launched an investigation against three Croatian nationals on suspicion of receiving and giving bribes. All three suspected persons were arrested yesterday (14 July 2022) at the EPPO’s request, following investigative activities conducted in cooperation with Croatia’s National Police Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime.

It is alleged that, between May 2021 and 14 July 2022, the three suspects made an arrangement in which the first defendant would be granted the tender for the execution of the Extension and Reconstruction of the Waste Water Treatment Plant Project (WWTP Project) in the Croatian city of Varaždin. As part of this arrangement, the second and third defendants, as their companies’ responsible persons, would ensure that the first defendant received the contract, in exchange for an adequate monetary reward from him. The value of the WWTP Project was initially estimated at HRK 178 000 000.00 (€23.7 million), and was co-financed by the European Union’s Cohesion Fund.

It is understood that the monetary reward for the second defendant was an unspecified percentage of the total value of the WWTP Project. The award for the third defendant, meanwhile, was agreed in the form of the first defendant’s company hiring one of the third defendant’s companies as a subcontractor in the execution of works within the WWTP Project, to the value of HRK 72 809 100.00 (€9 690 962) (excl. VAT).

It is believed that, in order to turn their agreement into reality, the third defendant’s company was first hired by a company that was under the directorship of the second defendant. . This was to prepare the main designs and obtain building permits for the WWTP Project. As had been previously agreed with the other two defendants in the public procurement procedure, the third defendant offered, on behalf of his company, a price significantly lower than the estimated value. As a result, his company’s bid was chosen as the most favourable one by the second defendant’s decision.

During the process of amending the project documentation for the WWTP Project, the third defendant’s company created the main design that incorporated the geotechnical-construction project previously prepared by the first defendant. Moreover, the third defendant ensured that the protection of the construction pits required for the development of the WWTP Project would be implemented using a method in which the first defendant’s company was specialised. In this way, it was ensured that the first defendant’s company could offer the most favourable price, and had a competitive advantage over the other interested economic entities.

As a result, in the public tender in question, the bid of the first defendant’s company, with the price of HRK 262 373 562.50 (€35 million), was chosen as the most favourable, while the first defendant, as had been agreed earlier, engaged a company of the third defendant as a subcontractor for the execution of works.

The EPPO will propose to the investigative judge to order pre-trail detention against the three suspects.

 

Tri osobe uhićene u Hrvatskoj zbog sumnje na primanje i davanje mita u infrastrukturnom projektu vrijednom više milijuna eura

Ured europskog javnog tužitelja (EPPO) pokrenuo je istragu protiv trojice hrvatskih državljana zbog sumnje da su primali i davali mito. Sve tri osumnjičene osobe uhićene su jučer (14. srpnja 2022.) na zahtjev EPPO-a, nakon istražnih radnji provedenih u suradnji s Policijskim nacionalnim uredom za suzbijanje korupcije i organiziranog kriminaliteta.

Postoji sumnja da su se trojica osumnjičenika u razdoblju od svibnja 2021. do 14. srpnja 2022. dogovorili da će prvookrivljeniku biti dodijeljen posao na izvođenju projekta Dogradnja i rekonstrukcija Uređaja za pročišćavanje otpadnih voda (UPOV) u Varaždinu. Dogovorili su da će drugookrivljenik i trećeokrivljenik, kao odgovorne osobe svojih trgovačkih društava, osigurati da prvookrivljenik dobije ugovor u zamjenu za odgovarajuću novčanu nagradu.  Vrijednost projekta UPOV prvobitno je procijenjena na 178 000 000,00 kuna (23,7 milijuna eura), a sufinanciran je iz Kohezijskog fonda Europske unije.

Novčana nagrada za drugookrivljenika bila je neutvrđeni postotak ukupne vrijednosti projekta UPOV. Nagrada za trećeokrivljenika je pak dogovorena na način da tvrtka prvookrivljenika angažira jednu od tvrtki trećeokrivljenika kao podizvođača u izvođenju radova u sklopu projekta UPOV, u vrijednosti od 72 809 100,00 kuna (9 690 962 eura) (bez PDV-a).

Kako bi dogovoreno proveli u djelo, postoji sumnja da je tvrtku trećeokrivljenika prvo angažirala tvrtka u kojoj je drugookrivljenik bio direktor. Radilo se o izradi glavnih projekata i ishođenju građevinske dozvole za projekt UPOV. Kako je bilo prethodno dogovoreno s druga dva okrivljenika, u postupku javne nabave je trećeokrivljenik, u ime svojega društva, ponudio cijenu znatno nižu od procijenjene vrijednosti. Slijedom toga je, odlukom drugookrivljenika, ponuda njegovoga društva odabrana kao najpovoljnija.

U postupku izmjene projektne dokumentacije za projekt UPOV, društvo trećeokrivljenika je izradilo Glavni projekt u koji je unesen geotehničko-građevinski projekt prethodno izrađen od strane provookrivljenika. Štoviše, trećeokrivljenik je osigurao da će zaštita građevinskih jama potrebna za  izgradnju projekta UPOV biti izvođena posebnom metodom za koju je specijalizirano upravo društvo prvookrivljenika. Na taj je način osigurano da društvo prvookrivljenika može ponuditi najpovoljniju cijenu i ostvariti prednost pred ostalim zainteresiranim gospodarskim subjektima.

Slijedom toga je u postupku predmetnog javnog nadmetanja ponuda trgovačkog društva provookrivljenika u iznosu od 262 373 562,50 kuna (35 milijuna eura) odabrana kao najpovoljnija, dok je prvookrivljenik, sukladno ranijem dogovoru, kao podizvođača za izvođenje radova angažirao jedno društvo trećeokrivljenika.

EPPO će sucu istrage predložiti određivanje istražnog zatvora protiv trojica osumnjičenika.