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Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Zagreb

UNCLAS ZAGREB 00075

SIPDIS
P 040632Z FEB 08

FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8540
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH PRIORITY 0833

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000075

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR CA/FPP AND CA/VO/F/P
DEPARTMENT ALSO PASS TO KCC WILLIAMSBURG
VIENNA ALSO FOR DHS/BICE
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT ASEC HR
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - ZAGREB

REF: 05 STATE 205073, 07 STATE 171211

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Country Conditions
------------------

Political Structure: The Republic of Croatia has three branches of
national government: a unicameral legislature (Sabor); a judiciary;
and an executive branch. The Executive Branch is further divided
into the Presidency and the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The Government is headed by a prime minister who is appointed by the
President and confirmed by the leader of the Sabor. The Prime
Minister appoints members of the Government who are confirmed by the
leader of the Sabor. Croatia has a multi-party system. Currently,
the center-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leads the
Government. HDZ lacks a majority in the Sabor, and therefore
depends on a coalition of smaller parties to maintain its leadership
position. The main opposition party to the HDZ is the Social
Democratic Party (SDP).

Economy: The Republic of Croatia has a market-based economy. The
tourism sector continues to be an important employer of the
country's 4.6 million citizens. Croatia experienced satisfactory
economic growth over the last few years, yet the cost of living
increased substantially. Salaries in Croatia have not increased
with the cost of living, but Croatians manage to survive, often
through the creative use of credit. The average monthly salary in
Croatia is approximately 857 USD.

Judicial System: The judicial system consists of a Constitutional
Court, a Supreme Court, county courts, municipal courts, and the
petty crimes courts. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all
civil and criminal cases. The Constitutional Court rules on the
constitutionality of laws and government actions as well as
protecting and enforcing constitutional rights. Croatia has the
largest number of judges, per capita, in Europe. Despite this, or
perhaps because of this, Croatia's legal system is chronically slow,
and even the simplest cases can take years, even decades to get
through the courts.

Zagreb is considered a low-level fraud post.

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NIV Fraud
---------

Low-level fraud is detected in some NIV applications and is
primarily employment-based. Examples of such fraud include false
job letters, inflated salaries, and false statements concerning
purpose of travel. Most of these cases are uncovered through
persistent questioning by the consular officer and/or a phone call
to the applicant's alleged employer.

--------
IV Fraud
--------

No fraud detected during this reporting period.

--------
DV Fraud
--------

No fraud detected during this reporting period.

----------------------
ACS and Passport Fraud
----------------------

No fraud detected during this reporting period.

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Adoption Fraud
--------------

Croatia's adoption procedures are extremely complex and restrictive
for foreigners. As such Post processes very few adoption cases. In
FY2007 Post processed only one adoption case, and that case was for
a Bosnian-born child.

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Use of DNA Testing
------------------

DNA testing in Croatia is available, but expensive. The cities of
Zagreb, Osijek, Split, and Petrova all have facilities for DNA
testing charging an average of 1200 USD per test.

-----------------------------
Asylum and Other DHS Benefits
-----------------------------

No fraud detected during this reporting period.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alien Smuggling, Trafficking, Organized Crime, Terrorist Travel
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Croatia is a major transit point for illegal immigrants traveling to
the EU. Most illegal immigrants enter Croatia from Serbia and exit
into Slovenia. In 2007 increased efforts by local police to stem
the rising illegal migration to the EU through Croatia resulted in
the arrest of twenty human traffickers and many more suspected human
smugglers.

Although primarily a transit country for illegal drugs in the past,
Croatia is increasingly becoming an end user. During the first two
weeks of 2008 more than 77 kilograms of heroin was confiscated in
drug busts by Croatian police, surpassing the total amount
confiscated in the previous year.

--------------------------------
DS Criminal Fraud Investigations
--------------------------------

The Consular Section and RSO exchange information on a daily basis
and cooperate closely. RSO is immediately informed when citizenship
and/or passport fraud is suspected and is directly involved in any
investigation, as well as assisting as needed in cases involving
suspected visa fraud. RSO also routinely involves the Consular
Section on any cases with a consular element.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Host Country Passport, Identity Documents, and Civil Registry
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Official Croatian identity and civil documents are generally
considered reliable. Stolen and/or sold Croatian passports are
sometimes used by other nationalities, particularly Serbians, to
cross into the EU. Other documents such as student records and
employment books are less reliable as they lack any security
features other than ink stamps, and can be easily falsified or
altered.

--------------------------------------------
Cooperation with Host Government Authorities
--------------------------------------------

The Croatian Law for the Protection of Personal Data prohibits the
sharing of information on criminal suspects with any foreign
government. As a result, there is currently little cooperation with
local authorities on fraud issues.

---------------------------
Areas of Particular Concern
---------------------------

Local newspapers report on petty and serious crimes every day,
however the surname and first initial of the accused is released.
The Croatian Law for the Protection of Personal Data does not allow
Croatian authorities to freely share this information with Post,
even for law enforcement purposes, thus limiting our ability to
enter potential ineligibilities into INK. For more serious crimes,
post resorts to Internet searches and other means to obtain the
necessary bio data. Post continues to explore with the Croatia
authorities possible solutions to allow data sharing, including the
possibility of including such information use in a broader Agreement
on Law Enforcement Cooperation.

----------------------
Staffing and Training:
----------------------

Post's Fraud Prevention Manager is Ruta D. Elvikis. The new Fraud
Prevention Officer is Patrick R. Wingate. Post is pleased to
welcome Oliver Ostojic as the new Fraud Prevention Investigator.
Oliver has extensive professional experience working with U.S.,
Croatian, and other international law enforcement authorities and
has already in his short time at post succeeded in identifying
several known criminals who were unwittingly issued visas. Post has
nominated Oliver for the FSI Fraud Prevention Workshop in March.

BRADTKE

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