Have you seen this man?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Ratty Sr., Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Have you seen this man?

    Do you even know who this man is? I'm guessing you don't.

    This is none other than Dr. Ivo Sanader. For six years Ivo Sanader was the prime minister and undisputed autocrat of Croatia. Members of his party, HDZ, as well as the vast majority of Croatian journalists and public figures, kissed the ground upon which he tread.

    Then, in July last year, Sanader abrupty and without explanation resigned his post and withdrew into the shadows. Almost immediately rumors abound. Rumors of real reasons behind his departure. Rumors of his future plans. But more importantly, rumors of criminal investigations into large-scale corruption at the highest echelons of government, ruling party and state-owned companies, all of which had been swept under a rug during the years of Sanader's supremacy.

    Fast forward six months and Sanader attempts to return to power by staging a coup within his own party. The coup fails ignominiously and Sanader is cast out of the party that he had presided over for almost a decade, and which he had successfully led to two electoral victories.

    Months pass and those rumors become fact. Dozens of GOC executives are arrested, including the president of the national power grid operator and the entire board of directors of the national motorways company. Several government ministers find themselves under investigation. Sanader's one-time right hand man, deputy prime minister Damir Polancec, resigns from the government and is promptly arrested. Soon he is sentenced to a year in prison, the highest-ever government official to get a prison sentence - and that sentence will only get longer in the future, as he still awaits trial in the worst corruption cases.

    Fast forward to last September and Mladen Barisic, the director of Croatian Customs and HDZ treasury chief, who also happens to be Sanader's closest friend and confidant, is arrested. Upon raiding his luxurious penthouse, police find 2.5 million kn (about 350,000 euro) in cash, as well as incalculable amounts in priceless art pieces, expensive watches and fashion items. Barisic becomes sick and collapses during questioning.

    Omerta is broken, immediately and irrevocably. Barisic and other schmucks tell the prosecutors everything. Immediately on assuming power in 2003, the high-ranking officials of the ruling party set up a massive criminal-corruptive network designed to siphon taxpayer money out of government institutions and GOCs through overinflated contracts with private enterprises. Most of the funds siphoned out that way were pocketed by officials and "private entrepreneurs" involved in the process, though much of them went into a "black fund" that was used to finance the operations of the ruling party (which explained how HDZ was able to outspend everybody in election campaigns by a margin of 400%, and why it suddenly ran out of funds mere months after Sanader's resignation). Party officials literally carried black bags full of money from private companies into the HDZ headquarters. Whenever anybody in the party needed money for anything, Barisic would produce swathes of bills seemingly out of thin air.

    It is estimated that up to 1.4 billion kn (a little under 200 million euros) of taxpayers' money was stolen that way, and that's just in the cases covered by these few criminal investigation. The total amount of money that was siphoned out of the government and GOCs in this way over these past seven years is inestimable, but likely on the order of tens of billions of euros. And according to Barisic and other (prison-)birdies, capo di tutti capi, the originator and undisputed chief of this criminal enterprise is one man - Dr. Ivo Sanader.

    No one has any right to be surprised, really. To date no one has ever been able to offer a coherent explanation of the ex-prime minister's substantial wealth, least of all Sanader himself. And the wealth really is substantial - it is known to include a huge mansion in an elite neighborhood in Zagreb, a large apartment in the center of Manhattan (yes, really), a luxury yacht, apartments and houses all over Croatia and Austria, a massive collection of priceless paintings, an even more massive collection of expensive watches (Cartier, Rolex... the real deal) most of which are alone worth tens of thousands of euros... Really, all of this information has been known for years, and the way everyone - and by "everyone" I mean Sanader's former associates and media adulators - is now acting all shocked by the sudden "discovery" of dear Ivo's criminal activities is, quite simply, despicable.

    Well, fast forward to present day and Sanader is stripped of his immunity as MP at the request of the state attorney. Too late - just hours before the parliament is about to confirm this decision, Sanader flees across the Croatian-Slovenian border in a black Opel Vectra, upon which he boards a flight to London and from there to New York (where he teaches Political Sciences as guest lecturer at the Columbia University, but I digress). No doubt state attorney will by now have issued a warrant for his arrest, though when and if his ass will land in detention will now depend on US willingness to extradite him.

    In the meantime, there is still more work for the prosecution organs. It is justifiably believed that investigators have only barely scratched the surface of the gigantic heap of illegal dealings involving HDZ officials, and several more government ministers are frequently mentioned in the context of the shameless, massive corruption that has irreparably crippled the Croatian economy and society.
  2. mobucks

    mobucks jetski Orderite

    May 22, 2010
    sounds like the work of economic hitmen.

    they do this in third world countries. The US megacorps are behind it all.

    I wonder if there is a connection.
  3. Stanislao Moulinsky

    Stanislao Moulinsky Vault Fossil

    Jul 16, 2009
    At least they exposed and arrested the culprits (well, minus Sanader himself). I hope one day it will happen the same in Italy with Silvio Berlusconi, I really do.
  4. Bal-Sagoth

    Bal-Sagoth Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Nov 1, 2008
    That is a pretty crazy (and interesting) story.
  5. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Latest update: Sanader has been arrested near Salzburg, Austria. Apparently, information that he had fled to New York via Ljubljana and London was incorrect. What really happened is that he drove through Slovenia and Austria all the way to Munich, Germany, where he tried to board a plane to New York, but was turned away because his US visa has been cancelled (go US!). Then he made his way back to Austria, no doubt intending to take refuge there - namely, Sanader lived there during the '70s and '80s and still has many connections with local politicians and businessmen. However, he has overplayed his hand - Austrian police intercepted him at border crossing and he has been detained.

    Nobody really knows what's going to happen next. Austria has very complex extradition procedures and it may take months before Sanader is in the hands of Croatian authorities. Given his friendships with several high-ranking Austrian politicians, he may even be able to obtain political asylum. Things will become even more complicated if Sanader has Austrian citizenship, as is rumored (unlikely, but anything is possible) - namely, Austria doesn't extradite her citizens. On the other hand, Sanader's name is often mentioned in connection with a huge corruption scandal involving the Austrian Hypo bank and its money-laundering operations in Croatia during the '90s (this is a whole different can of worms, one nobody in Croatia dares to open, likely because it would incriminate most of the current political and business establishment), so there is a good chance Austrian authorities will also want to have a word or three with him.

    Do you think so? I wouldn't be so sure. If you wanted to go all the way and punish everyone who participated in the creation of - and benefited from - Sanader's criminal system, you would need to arrest almost every active government and HDZ official, as well as bankrupt the party (after all, if it could be proven that dirty money was used to finance HDZ operations, then the party would be legally bound to return it). Remember, even though Sanader resigned, most of his former associates are still in power. That whole scandal with siphoning funds out of the national power company? The document authorizing that carries the signature of Jadranka Kosor, Sanader's former deputy and current prime minister. Current minister of interior? Also appointed by Sanader. State attorney? He had Sanader's full support through all these years and in return kept all evidence against HDZ officials in a drawer.

    Right now, this whole string of investigations and arrests appears to be little more than an attempt by Kosor and the current HDZ establishment to assert their power by eliminating Sanader and his clique, and bolster their popularity in the process. While doing so, they are ignoring the fact that they too were part of the same clique. The problem is, the authorities are ignoring that fact as well... at least so far.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention, there has been another string of arrests in the last 24 hours. Yesterday evening, police arrested Robert Jezic, petrochemical magnate and one of the wealthiest men in Croatia. The rapid growth of his business empire is largely due to strong political support and lucrative contracts with various GOCs. Did I mention he was a good friend of Ivo Sanader?

    It seems the police are snagging prominent figures on an hourly basis. Earlier today, they also arrested Tomislav Mercep, former HDZ official and warlord, whose name has been frequently mentioned in connection with some of the most savage war crimes committed in the name of the Croatian state in the last war. Nobody ever dared touch him, even though authorities have had ample evidence against him since as early as 1993. It should be noted that this arrest is unrelated to the whole Sanader thing - it is likely aimed to appease EU and the chief prosecutor of the Hague tribunal, who often criticize Croatia's failure to decisively deal with crimes committed by her military.
  6. 34thcell

    34thcell Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Sep 22, 2008
    I have a relative in the party. Apparently the first thing they talk about is personal needs; friends or family needing employment and stuff like that. It sounds more like a criminal network than a government.
  7. Arr0nax

    Arr0nax A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 30, 2009
    Genuine question : would an organisation similar as wikileaks have led to the corruption being uncovered sooner ? And would it help in the future ?

    I personally feel it would have. But you surely can tell better, since you live there.
  8. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    What is this wikileaks bullcrap everywhere?

    Are you implying that leaking it to all newspaper and media outlets in the country wouldn't be just as bloody effective (if not more) than publishing it on WikiLeaks? Sjeez...
  9. Arr0nax

    Arr0nax A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 30, 2009
    No, actually it wouldn't... They wouldn't get published.

    A factor in corrupt governments life time is their control over the media.
    That's the case in italy and I guess it's probably the same in croatia.
  10. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    In poorer parts of Croatia it is near impossible to get any kind of job if you or someone in your family isn't in HDZ. In places like Virovitica even store clerks brandish HDZ membership cards.

    That's exactly what it is. HDZ is a camarilla that enriches itself by plundering national wealth, either by legal means (crippling taxation, among the highest in the world) or through criminal activity (political corruption). Anything else HDZ has ever done, any non-destructive development they may have instigated (e.g. EU candidacy), has been motivated by the need to perpetuate their criminal system rather than any genuine desire to improve the lot of the Croatian people. They are without a doubt one of the most destructive and malignant forces that has ever acted upon our nation.

    Doubtful. An organization such as WikiLeaks can be effective in truly democratic and pluralist societies, where mainstream media are allowed some degree of independence in their reporting, where democratic awareness among the citizenry is sufficiently developed to generate meaningful backlash in cases of blatant government abuse, and where organs of legal persecution are sufficiently independent to operate in accordance with the law rather than current political consensus.

    None of this is the case in Croatia. Most of these criminal dealings have been known for years and have been extensively covered in the few opposition media that are/were in existence, most notably the (now-defunct) weekly political and satirical magazine Feral Tribune. However, they were always swept under a rug, as mainstream media - all of them under control of party aparatchiks or media magnates with close links to the political establishment - simply refused to cover them, the legal organs refused to act on them and the public was - and still is - simply too cynical and conforming to dissent, either in the streets or at voting booths. For illustration, the aforementioned Hypo bank affair, the mother of all political corruption scandals, is still a major taboo in the media, even though it dwarfs all other cases in terms of the number of people and amount of money involved. As long as participants of this affair continue to occupy leading positions in the media companies and state organs, it will continue to be the sword of Damocles hanging over the future of this nation.
  11. Paul_cz

    Paul_cz Mildly Dipped

    Jun 11, 2008
    This is really standard to be honest. Every government in the world is made up of corrupt politicians in bed with special interest groups.Human nature.
  12. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    yes, its called lobbying.
  13. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    Then you go to international press? They like juicy stories too, even if no one gives a shit about Croatia. ;)
  14. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    For ten years you were with us, dear Ivo. For ten years we suffered your lies, your corruption, your utter disregard for law, morals, and democratic practices. For ten years we were prisoners of your vanity, subjected to an unending torrent of distasteful accolades sung by your mindless followers and lapdog media. For ten years we watched helpless as you and your camarilla plundered the country to feed your insatiable avarice, enriching yourselves while dooming entire generations to poverty and debt. For ten years we lived without voice, without freedom, forced to sit by and watch you trample over our democratic rights and buy your way to electoral victories, with the money you looted from state coffers, our money.

    For ten years we suffered you, Ivo. Ten years that we will never get back. Ten disastrous years that will take a century to recover from.

    And though nothing can make up for those ten years we put up with you, we did receive some grim satisfaction today. Because today, you got ten years too, Ivo. Ten years that are yours, and only yours. Ten years to contemplate where it all went wrong. Ten years you will never get back.

    See you in a decade, Ivo - you greedy, narcissistic, odious reprobate.
  15. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    Do Croat prisons offer Club Fed deals for their rich-and-powerful guests, or is he in for some genuine comeuppance?
  16. Evil Neville

    Evil Neville First time out of the vault

    Oct 2, 2012
    Coming soon to prison near me.
  17. Jebus

    Jebus Background Radiant

    Jan 29, 2004
    It's going to be so much fun when Croatia joins the Union next year.
  18. donperkan

    donperkan Vault Fossil

    Aug 4, 2011
    I'm surprised you don't have a thread about our glorious generals.

    You are exaggerating a bit deadr4tz.

    Yes, sander stole a large sum of money for his personal use but he didn't (he couldn't) cause croatia's economic collapse.

    This is a rant, what's worse is that it's out of touch with reality.

    I don't understand why you have such strong feelings about this subject.
  19. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    He didn't cause the economic crisis, but he aggravated it, with his shitty policies and plunder of national wealth. Croatia has had constant decline in GDP since late 2008, which is the worst economic performance of any country aside from Greece. This is a cumulative effect of corruption and economic mismanagement on part of Sanader and his government.

    I have the exact same feelings about Sanader now as I did when he took power in 2003, and again in 2007. Both times I tried to convince people that Sanader was an amoral swine who would turn Croatia into his personal bank account, and both times I got to listen to sheer idiocy about what a charismatic leader he was, and how his HDZ was reformed, and no longer the den of corruption and autocracy it had been under Tudjman.

    No, it was never just Sanader. It was also the clique around him, those who benefited from his rule and amassed considerable power and personal wealth, only to turn his back on him when he fell from grace. And the media, who sang him praises while remaining silent about his numerous and blatant wrongdoings.

    But ultimately, it's the people. A shame selfishness and stupidity aren't crimes, because if they were, then roughly a third of Croatian electorate would be locked up with Sanader.
  20. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    Isn't that the guy who built the Apartment building that summoned Gozer in Ghostbusters?