Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - December 21, 2009

DE RUEHVB #0747 3551316
P 211316Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - December 21, 2009

1.(U) Fight against corruption is most important battle since
Homeland War: In an interview on December 19 Interior Minister
Karamarko stated Croatia is facing its biggest battle since the
Homeland War in the struggle against organized crime and corruption.
He noted that Prime Minister Kosor fully supports his efforts and
that "she has given a green light" to the fight.

2. (U) Hypo Bank story expands: Croatian National Bank Governor
Zeljko Rohatinsky said in an interview that former PM Sanader and
Bavarian PM Edmund Stoiber pressured him in 2007 to support the sale
of Hypo Alpe Adria Bank (HAAB) to the Bavarian-based Bayerische
Landesbank (BLB). Rohatinsky added that his bank considered filing
a complaint against Stoiber with the EU Commission because of this
pressure. As the National Bank Governor, Rohatinsky had final
approval of the sale of HAAB to BLB, and had requested that BLB to
meet strict requirements before the sale went through.

3. (U) Croatian passenger train has accident at central station:
Approximately forty people were injured December 21 when a Croatian
rail train from Sisak hit a guardrail at the main train station in
Zagreb in the early morning hours. According to Croatian
authorities, there were no American citizens on the train.

4. (U) OSCE Observation Mission Assessing Croatia's Electoral
System: PolOff attended a briefing on December 18 by the OSCE
Limited Election Observation Mission (LEOM) on their interim report
regarding the upcoming presidential election in Croatia. On
December 8 the OSCE officially opened a LEOM, which consists of a
10-member core team based in Zagreb and 12 long-term observers
deployed throughout the country. The LEOM team members will visit a
limited number of polling stations, but they will not conduct a
comprehensive and systematic observation of the election. The LEOM
team has already assessed that Croatia's electoral processes were
mostly on par with European standards and that the threat of voter
fraud was low. However, most LEOM interlocutors were concerned
about the accuracy of the voter lists. The LEOM team will provide a
final list of recommendations to the GoC in January on ways to
improve the electoral process and regulatory framework.

5. (U) US Embassy Zagreb helps prepare neighboring ODC Chief: The
Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) hosted the incoming ODC Chief in
Montenegro 14-16 December to prepare him for the assumption of his
duties. USEUCOM asked Embassy Zagreb to give the officer a crash
course in security assistance, ODC procedures, and working within
the embassy since he has not yet attended the Defense Institute of
Security Assistance Management course.


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