Monday, April 07, 2003

Family Business

Croatian police managed to crack the case of paintings stolen from Banski Dvori, the heart of national government.

Three people were arrested, one of them being 29-year old Dario Petrov, waiter employed in Banski Dvori. He stole the paintings and gave them to his 31-year old wife Lena Koščec-Petrov (Lena Koscec-Petrov), the granddaughter of Mencije Clement Crnčić (Mencije Clement Crncic), one of the painters whose work had been stolen. She later sold them to various buyers in Zagreb, using her family background as guarantee for the legality of the deal.

At first it was speculated that the stealing was a protest against government's refusal to return property during Communist era (and that includes valuable paintings like Crnčić's), but the investigation instead revealed another scandal.

It turns out that Petrovs (Dario, Lena and Dario's 24 year-old brother Vladan) did it for more prosaic purposes. Dario and Lena were heroin addicts and needed money to support their habit. They were registered as drug addicts by authorities and received methadone therapy.

So, in Croatia heroin addicts can pass highest security clearances and work within the very heart of national government and work in close proximity to government's top officials. And in the same time Račan's (Racan's) government is still undecided on the issue of obligatory drug testing.


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