Tudjman's daughter under bribe-taking investigation

ZAGREB, Sep 7, 2000 -- (AFP) The daughter of Croatia's late nationalist president Franjo Tudjman has been placed under investigation for alleged bribe taking, a Croatian daily reported Wednesday.

In the period between 1996 and 1999, a Croatian businessman allegedly paid Nevenka Tudjman some HRK 2.6 million (EUR 351,000, USD 312,000) to persuade science and technology ministry officials to conclude business deals with him, the Vecernji list said.

A criminal investigation is under way, police spokesman Slavko Rako told AFP, refusing to elaborate.

"The aim of all this is to defame the late president," Nevenka Tudjman told Vecernji list.

During Tudjman's rule, the independent press often accused his family members of abusing their positions to line their own pockets, while the country sank into a deep economic and social crisis.

Meanwhile, President Stipe Mesic said in an interview with The New York Times Sunday that the government was leading an investigation about Tudjman's family's assets, adding that they were abusing their positions to win themselves high positions within foundations and companies.

In a letter to Prime Minister Ivica Racan, Tudjman's widow Ankica qualified Mesic's declarations as "lies and defamations," urging that details of the alleged investigation be published.

Tudjman, who led the country in an autocratic manner since its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, died in December.

Besides daughter Nevenka, he had two sons, Stjepan and Miroslav, who was the former head of Croatia's intelligence service (HIS).

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