Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - February 2, 2010

DE RUEHVB #0072 0331106
P 021106Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - February 2, 2010

1. (U) Croatia's Exports Decline By 20.3 Percent, Imports by 25.7
Croatia's exports of $11 billion for 2009 represent a 20.3 percent
decline from 2008, while 2009 imports declined 25.7 percent to $22.3
billion, according to statistics from the Croatian National Bank.
The sharper drop in imports means that Croatia's 2009 foreign trade
deficit was $11.3 billion, down 30.3 percent from 2008. Croatian
economists attributed the sharp declines to decreased consumer
consumption both domestically and abroad because of the economic

2. (U) Zagreb County Court Convicts 19 Professors and Students for
The Zagreb County Court on February 1 convicted 19 out of 21
defendants in the "Index 3" case, pertaining to corruption at Zagreb
University's School of Economics. The crimes involved are abuse of
office, giving and taking bribes, and brokering illegal deals. Five
defendants, including all of those convicted of actually taking
bribes, were sentenced to prison, with sentences ranging from 8 to
30 months. Among those sentenced to prison was the highest profile
defendant, economics professor Desa Mlikotin Tomic, who resigned as
Chair of the Parliament's Committee for the Prevention of Conflict
of Interest following the initial police raids at the Economics
Faculty last year. The 14 suspended sentences included all of the
students among the convicted. Several professors also received
three to five year bans from working in academia.

3. (U) U.S. Embassy and Sabre Foundation Zagreb Donate Children's
Books to Croatia's County Libraries:
Ambassador Foley donated a collection of reading kits and
English-language children's books to Zagreb's Central Public Library
on February 1. The donation is the first in a series in which the
Embassy will present similar collections to libraries in each of
Croatia's 20 counties. The donations are made in partnership with
the SABRE Foundation of Zagreb and are a continuation of the
Embassy's active library outreach program. Over the course of the
past two years, Embassy staff have visited over 40 libraries across
Croatia, donating equipment and books. Recently, the Embassy
sponsored a web page design seminar for Croatian librarians.


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