Indictment Against Luka Modrić Falls Through

Autor:

04.10.2018.

Moskva, Rusija, 110718.
Stadion Luznjiki.
FIFA World cup Russia 2018.
Nogometna utakmica polufinala svjetskog nogometnog prvenstva Rusija 2018, Hrvatska - Engleska.
Na fotografiji: Hrvatska pobijedila Engleze i usla u finale Svjetskog prvenstva sa 2:1, slavlje, Luka Modric
Foto: Tom Dubravec / CROPIX
Tom Dubravec / CROPIX

Luka Modrić

Seven months after it was issued, the perjury indictment raised by the Osijek prosecutor's office against the world's top football player Luka Modrić failed to pass muster before the indictment division of the Zagreb Municipal Court.

Last week, the Court's indictment division judged it premature, given that the criminal proceedings against former FC Dinamo executive Zdravko Mamić at the Osijek court, in which Modrić was a witness, had not been legally completed.

The ruling has widely expected in the legal circles since the beginning of the scandal. A different ruling, one that would accept the indictment at this stage, would be in violation of Art. 9 of the 2008 Criminal Procedure Act, which ensures compliance with the principle of fair trial as well as the legal security of the defendant.

Legal experts familiar with the matter indicate that, even in the event that Mamić's trial were finally completed and the verdict had come into force, the Modrić indictment would still have been returned for amendment due to certain points in the document the prosecutor has failed to address properly.

Records under magnifying glass

What strikes observers as odd is that the deposition of Modrić's first lawyer Davor Radić, who was present with him at the first questioning at the USKOK [the Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption] is missing from the list of the evidence in the indictment. It is, after all, the very basis of the indictment against Modrić. Only the Osijek prosecutor's office knows whether it was an oversight, a result of hasty preparation, or something else entirely. Also under the magnifying glass are the minutes of Modrić's August 2015 questioning at the USKOK, which are cited in the factual description in the indictment, but ‒ interestingly ‒ do not appear on the list of evidence either. In their place are the minutes of another questioning, dated a year later and registered under another registry number.

Fugitive Zdravko Mamić, his brother Zoran, former FC Dinamo director Damir Vrbanović and tax official Milan Pernar are still awaiting the official verdict of guilty, in paper document form, to be sent to them. (The court has found the four guilty of siphoning off almost HRK 116 million from Dinamo and avoiding payment of some 12.2 million in taxes.) It will take several months, possibly years, for the case to be finally and legally closed. Until then, Luka Modrić can relax, at least as far as the perjury charges in the Mamić case are concerned. Judging by that, the same result could be expected for the indictment against another international footballer, Dejan Lovren...

An appeal can be filed within three days of the receipt of the written ruling on the rejection of indictment. The Zagreb County Court will rule on the possible appeals. We could not find out on Tuesday whether the prosecutor [the Office of the State Attorney (DORH)] would appeal.

'I don't remember'

As Jutarnji list reported first, Modrić had rejected the charges during questioning at the prosecutor's office. He claimed he was "not a person used to word play" and that he normally trusted people. He also noted that Zdravko Mamić had indeed helped him in a certain part of his life and career.

‒ Does anyone think that I would so easily jeopardize my name and everything I have accomplished in life through hard work, that I would publicly humiliate myself and renounce my beliefs? ‒ Modrić asked at the DORH. ‒ Has Zdravko Mamić helped me in a certain part of my life andcareer? Yes, he did! But would I falsely testify on his behalf because of that? No, I wouldnt! And I have not. That is why I find the indictment wrong. I believe there was a situation where they either did not understand me or I did not understand them, but one thing is certain: I have not testified falsely ! ‒

The suspicions about the veracity appeared in June 2017 in the courtroom of the Osijek County Court where Modrić's testimony was marked by more than 20 repeats of "I don't remember" and "I can't remember". On both occasions, at the USKOK as well as in the courtroom, he complained they were asking him "about things and events that took place many years ago".

Justification

‒ I was questioned about things I do not understand very well ‒ he said. ‒ To me, the primary thing was to play football. That is what I do best. I had confidence in FC Dinamo and in Zdravko Mamić. I signed those annexes and contracts in that [frame of mind]. I have never read or studied them in detail. The most important thing for me was to have the annex to the contract on remuneration for the transfer signed. The important thing was the 50:50 split; other details did not interest me. I trusted the people around me. The questioning at the USKOK lasted for a long time, and I was dealing with it as well as I could. I said many times that I did not know or that I was not sure, and they insisted I try to remember and say whether something happened this way or that. I tried to reconstruct the situations as best I could. I could not vouch on how well I succeeded. ‒

Modrić is convinced that the USKOK investigator had put on record statements "that were misconstrued". At the time, he did not notice or understand that.

The indictment charges Modrić with perjury committed on 13 June 2017 at the Osijek County Court, at the hearing in the trial against the Mamićes, Pernar and Vrbanović. He had allegedly "said that the had signed annexes to the professional player's agreement governing the split of the remuneration for the transfer between him and FC Dinamo in the 50:50 ratio each time the contract was extended, and signed them again because of an alleged change of the bank account to which his part of the money was to be paid". According to the charges, he knew the statement was untrue. The 2005 annex, by which Dinamo left to Modrić a half of the amount pending for his future transfer, is apparently also dubious. The Osijek Court claims that the annex did not exist at the time of the transfer, but was backdated and consumed after Modrić's transfer to Tottenham, when the player handed over HRK 52 million to Mamić on the basis of their mutual private contract.

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