On July 16, 2021, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into four Croatian citizens suspected of committing active and passive corruption and abuse of functions. The EPPO launched the investigation following receipt of a report by the Croatian National Police Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime relating to an alleged bribery scheme involving the mayor of Nova Gradiška. The mayor is suspected of eliciting a bribe from the manager of a construction company in exchange for the relaxation of procurement procedures, and an assurance that the construction company would secure the project , which was co-financed by the EU Cohesion Fund and worth HRK 4,219,433.22 (approximately €562,000). Two of the co-conspirators are suspected of adjusting the tender requirements to provide the construction company with an advantage in the bidding process.
The EPPO was established on June 1, 2021 as the first supranational public prosecution office responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes that affect the EU’s budget. The office is independent of the European Commission and under the leadership of the European Chief Prosecutor; its focus is primarily corruption and fraud.