ZAGREB, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Croatian police on Tuesday arrested former executive officers the Uljanik Group, the country's biggest shipbuilding company.
Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic confirmed to the state news agency HINA that 12 people were arrested on suspicion of white-collar criminal offenses. He said that the state budget and the shipyard have allegedly been defrauded of more than one billion kuna (152 million U.S. dollars).
According to unofficial information, the arrested individuals include former Management Board President Gianni Rossanda and his predecessor Anton Brajkovic, who left the company in 2013. The investigation, which lasted a few months, focused on the period of the shipyard's restructuring after 2012.
The Uljanik Group is the largest shipbuilding company in Croatia. It operates two shipyards on the northern Adriatic coast: Uljanik in Pula and 3. Maj in Rijeka. The company has been hit by a financial crisis and is looking for a strategic investor. In 2018, Uljanik's workers went on strike several times over unpaid wages. Last week, they launched another protest and blocked the gates of the shipyard.
Reacting to the arrests, union leader Boris Cerovac said: "We waited a long time for this to happen. We were warning of the situation in the shipyard and finally the institutions take the necessary step. Some people say that it is too late, but I think it is never too late," Cerovac told national radio and TV broadcaster HRT.