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news 11 Mar 13

Former Croatian TV Anchor Arrested Over Fraud Case

Former television presenter Dijana Culjak has been detained on charges of allegedly interfering with witnesses in a fraud and tax evasion case against her.

Boris Pavelic
BIRN
Zagreb

Police arrested Culjak, a former anchor of Croatian state broadcaster HRT’s top political shows, on Friday after telephone surveillance allegedly revealed that she had been trying to influence witnesses.

Culjak was under investigation over fraud and tax evasion charges connected to the Core Media company that the authorities say that she and her husband Vladimir Selebaj-Sellier started in 2004.

Selebaj-Sellier, together with the former director of national television station Nova TV, Sinisa Svilan, is on trial in Zagreb for selling Core Media’s productions to Nova TV, for which Svilan allegedly took a 250,000-euro bribes from Selebaj-Sellier.

Selebaj-Sellier is charged with illegally withdrawing around two million euro from Core Media and evading about a half a million euro in taxes.

The investigation recently widened to include Culjak who, according to prosecutors, was a hidden owner of Core Media with her husband.

At the time they allegedly sold Core Media’s content to Nova TV, Culjak was an anchor with HRT, which represented a conflict of interest.

The judge ordered her to remain in custody for a month, while Croatian media published photos of a tearful Culjak being taken into custody in handcuffs.

Culjak spent several years as the presenter of HRT’s most influential political shows, openly advocating the right-wing, anti-European policy of the Croatian Democratic Union party.

Local media reported on the Core Media allegations several years ago but judicial proceedings were only launched in October 2011 when Selebaj-Sellier was arrested on the border with Slovenia while trying to flee Croatia.

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