It started a few days ago, with the publication of unusual photos of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Croatia, Tomislav Tolušić. It was obvious that those were not photos of the minister from the family celebration or his messages from the newly tilled Slavonian plains. In photographs, Tolušić, comfortably seated in some armchair, sniffs cocaine with one hand, and hugs some half-dressed lady, most likely escort woman, with the other. Croatian intelligence agencies estimated it was a fake and photomontage.
However, in spite of that, the issue of photographs was placed on the agenda of the meeting of the senior cabinet of the Croatian prime minister. Immediately after that, Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced that it was an act aimed at destabilizing the politics and the Croatian government.
I personally worked with various Croatian interior ministers, first with Ivan Penić, Šime Lučin, while later, when we managed the embassies of our countries, I met the current minister Božinović. In his judgments, he was always restrained and did not use many words. That is why I understood his assessment of photos and violation of the stability of the state completely literally. As a message that the already well-known methods of confrontations and threats have returned to Croatian politics.
In order to be able to understand the actual content of Božinović’s assessment, we must return at least two years ago, in the night between the 3rd and 4th April 2016. The robbery made by unknown persons in the first morning hours would have been only a part of the life of a big city and a new task for the investigating authorities if a few details that bothered me had not existed.
The office of the head of the Organized Crime Directorate of the Zagreb Police Administration was robbed, they took everything from the vault and collected nearly four hundred thousand euros of cash and two kilograms of gold from it. However, the real answers to the reasons for the robbery were not hidden in cash and gold, but in the data they first wanted to cover up and later pushed all the time aside after the revealing. Specifically, the vault contained also carefully arranged folders and office folders marked with blue and red, three hard drives and 21 data CDs. The head of the department had, as it could be concluded, collected complete record of members of criminal associations, with all their data, known and unknown details, oncologists would say they had their PET CT, the most precise and reliable record of the condition.
The vault also contained data on monitored persons, data interception findings, plans for operational actions of the raids, and probably a number of evidence documents that had not yet been handed over to the judicial authorities.
Soon after this discovery, the investigators suspected the owner of the office, the chief Željko Dolački, the most commonly called shortly Žac, as the perpetrator of the burglary in the main office of the service for the fight against organized crime.
They first suspended him and then detained him. All police chiefs who did not believe in his guilt were replaced. And they had at least one reason for their mistrust. Specifically, Dolački was not removed for the first time from an influential police position.
At the end of 1999, just before the replacement of the government in Croatia, and getting on the scene of the new government of the social democrats of Ivica Račan, the police inspector Dolački, with his very narrow circle of associates, completely confidentially from other services, collected and prepared a comprehensive indictment against the leadership of the organized Croatian criminal underworld. The evidence gathered for the first time directly indicated the interconnection of high state politics, secret services, police and judiciary segments with organized crime chiefs.
Zlatko Bagarić, one of the key people of Yugoslav criminals gathered and acting from Frankfurt at the time of the former state, returned to Croatia in the early 1990s. So as Željko Ražnatović-Arkan returned to Serbia.
The difference between the two was that Arkan immediately signed a pact on cooperation in the state project of Greater Serbia with Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, while Bagarić was somehow not interested in matters of Greater Croatia and the doctrine of the necessary wars.
One of the Croatian ministers who exercised the state doctrine of president Franjo Tuđman was Gojko Šušak. And it was him who introduced, promoted and fully protected the new leader of the Croatian branch of the Croatian organized crime underworld, Mladen Naletilić Tuta, who, like Arkan did with Milošević, understood Tuđman’s plans for the division of Bosnia. That Croatia was wrongly denied the Croat part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srem, part of Bačka and Boka Kotorska in the former Yugoslavia. That all these territories must become part of the new Croatian state. To accomplish this great state plan, all means and weapons were permitted.
By the indictments and arrests in late 1999, Dolački effectively exposed the harmonious functioning of high Croatian politics and organized crime. He had to be suspended.
Key suspects were released. The existing connections between politics and the underworld have remained untouched. First, because their disclosure would in many ways explain the ways of Croatian privatization, and even more so because such cooperation has always served as a useful tool for factional confrontations within the big Tuđman’s party.
Therefore, the reasons for the robbery of the chief’s vault in 2016 should not be sought in stolen cash and gold, but in the carefully and systematically arranged folders kept by Dolački. The confrontation of the Croatian state with organized crime was never allowed. There was too much fear. That is why the last photomontage of the Deputy Prime Minister Tolušić is primarily the message that this fear of the ruling officials must be preserved. And even more, a warning to Prime Minister Plenković that a new, extensive and big confrontation in high Croatian politics has started.