Croatian court orders detention of senior football officials

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Zagreb (Croatia), July 6 (IANS) Croatian football suffered a heavy blow when several of its senior officials were taken into custody on suspicions of tax evasion and corruption.

The Zagreb county court on Sunday remanded in a one-month custody top officials of Croatian champion football club Dinamo Zagreb, Zdravko Mamic and his brother Zoran Mamic, as well as executive president of the Croatian Football Association (HNS) Damir Vrbanovic, reports Xinhua.

They were arrested after the Croatian Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) filed charges against them.

Zdravko Mamic is the executive director of Dinamo and also the executive vice president of HNS, while Zoran is the coach of the club.

They are suspected of having taken the help of an unnamed corrupt tax administrator for financial malpractice. The alleged offences cost Dinamo 117.8 million kunas (15.6 million euros) and the state budget for at least 12 million kunas (1.6 million euros).

In addition, Zdravko was suspected to have gained at least 52 million kunas (6.9 million euros), and his brother Zoran 38.1 million (five million euros).

Mamic brothers have allegedly pulled money over the transfer of midfielder Dinamo’s former midfielder Luka Modric, who now plays for Spanish club Real Madrid, according to the local media reports.

In the same way, they have pulled money during transfers of several former players of Dinamo, the reports said.

Mamic brothers denied all the charges and said the investigations are political persecution. Their lawyers announced an appeal against their detention.

Zdravko is considered to be the most powerful man in Croatian football. He is a controversial figure who is no stranger to frequent verbal outbursts in public, even physical clashes.

Croatia’s former education minister Zeljko Jovanovic earlier sued him because of violence in public.

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