WHILE WAITING IMPRISONMENT FOR DRUG SMUGGLING How is the judiciary protecting tycoon Ivica Galić and obstructing the investigation into millions of tax debts

Pensioner Ivica Galić, who was arrested two years ago at the border of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in an attempt to smuggle heroin and sentenced to two years in prison (but is still at large), owns several properties in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. It is about several houses, apartments, business premises, but also land and high-luxury cars, which he bought in 2021 and 2022. Despite this, Galić is under the protection of the judiciary in western Herzegovina as well as the tax institutions to which he owes close to 3 million KM taxes. The tax debt expires in January of the following year

Valter’s investigative team

Ivica Galić, from Grude, is the owner of the customs terminal Gorica, but at same time he is also the owner and the responsible person of the company GA-GI d.o.o. Grude. As you can see in the photos, the terminal, where the flag of the non-existent para-state entity “Herceg-Bosna” is displayed high on the mast, is located right next to the border of BiH with the Republic of Croatia and is working at full capacity, as our photojournalists were able to ascertain during their visit to this location.

What is more significant is the fact that Galić is also a multimillion-dollar debtor of the Tax Administration in the amount of close to three million BAM, which was also explained in the criminal complaints filed with the prosecutor’s offices. The criminal complaints also state that he is being protected by the deputy director of Tax Office Grude, Solobodan Vukoja, who, as stated, was informing Galić about court preservation orders and debt collections that were being prepared, advising him to transfer the company to someone else, or open a new one.

COVERING UP AMOST THREE MILLION OF DEBT

He took this advice and founded a new company, AMAGAL d.o.o. Grude, whose fictitious new owner was Dario Pejić. Following a new tipoff from the Tax Office Grude about the same old “problems”, Galić appoints his son as the new owner.

Our portal is in the possession of evidence related to high corruption and organized crime in several institutions of the Federation of BiH in which individuals are hiding and covering up multimillion tax debts of tycoon Ivica Galić. At the same time Galić is regularly receiving his pension although he evaded taxes and has almost three million BAM of unsettled debt to the authorities and the workers.

Photo: Galić’s private customs terminal Gorica in the close vicinity to the border with Croatia

Under the law the responsible person in the company cannot exercise the right to a pension until contributions for all employees have been settled. In which way did Galić arrange regular pension for himself, while around 60 former employees of the company GA-GAI d.o.o. Grude cannot exercise that right because the responsible person in the company and the owner did not pay their contributions – is a question for the legal state.

According to the claims of two independent sources, Cantonal Tax Administration Ljubuški had established that the taxpayer Galić has no debts with regards to the contributions for pension and disability insurance and the contributions for health insurance registered in the official records.

Thus the Cantonal Tax Administration Ljubuški had provided false information that the company GA-GI d.o.o Grude has no debts with regards to the contributions for pension and disability insurance and the contributions for health insurance registered, which is a criminal offense of abuse of position or authority and giving false statement and has to be reported to the prosecutor’s office by the law. According to unofficial information the taxpayers in the Federation of BiH owe more than BAM 2.5 billion. The tax office states that “they have received a written notice that the taxpayer Ivica Galić does not own any immovable or movable assets” based on the verification procedure completed with all competent courts in the FBiH.

The question arises as to how the company GA-GI d.o.o Grude was removed from the tax debt register of the Tax office without the debt being settled?

By the way, Ivica Galić owns several properties in BiH and Croatia. These include several houses, apartments, business premises, land and cars. Ivica Galić bought two new high luxury cars in 2021 and 2022.

Despite all the evidence, the Cantonal Tax Administration Ljubuški has during the “verification” procedure determined that the taxpayer Galić has no assets from which the debt of three million BAM could be collected, which does not correspond to the truth.

UNDER PROTECTION OF THE INSTITUTIONS

The documentation in our possession also contains the evidence that the company GA-GI d.o.o. Grude still owns assets. There are business premises at the customs terminal in Grude that is part of the municipal sports hall, which is proved by the Property Sales Agreement, number: 01/1-476-1/01, concluded on February 28, 2001 in Grude between GA-GI d.o.o. Grude, i.e. Ivica Galić and the municipal mayor Dobroslav Galić.

Copy of the Contract

Another piece of evidence is the Administrative decision of Grude Municipality number: 03-2-23-14/02 issued on January 24, 2002, which states that the company GA-GI d.o.o. Grude submitted a request to carry out freight forwarding services in its business premises.

Photo: Copy of the Administrative decision

lvica Galić still uses business premises freely and without any restrictions, and all relevant institutions are turning a blind eye to this. We have received the following answer when our portal inquired the Cantonal Tax Administration in Ljubuški about this:

“Since you have requested answers directly from the Cantonal Tax Administration Ljubuški and Tax Office Grude, the information requested is considered to be a tax secret in line with Article 3, paragraph 4 of the Law on Tax Administration of the Federation of BiH (Official Gazette of FBiH, number: 33/02, 28/04, 57/09, 40/10, 27/12, 7/13, 71/14, 91/15 and 44/22) and can neither be provided by the Cantonal Tax Administration nor the Tax Office, as it is under the competence of the Central Office of the Tax Administration.”

The Tax Administration of the Federation of BiH sent the following answer “inspection of the records revealed that the taxpayer GA-GI d.o.o. Grude (ID number: 4272094830006) has no recorded debt with regards to contributions for pension and disability, health and unemployment insurance. Within its jurisdiction the Tax Administration of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has no knowledge of other debts owed to the employees.” 

However it confirmed that “according to the records of the Tax Administration of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the taxpayer GA-GI d.o.o. Grude (ID number: 472094830006) has outstanding tax liabilities in the amount of BAM 2,743,543.85 on its record”.

 

The handling of this case is quite indicative. After the BiH Prosecutor’s Office assessed that this case of high corruption and crime was not for them, it was forwarded to the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of the West Herzegovina Canton, where, interestingly, they decided not to conduct an investigation.

TERMINAL, REAL ESTATE, LAND, LIMOS….

As underlined by one of our sources, several criminal complaints stated that the case was transferred to Široki Brijeg thanks to Slobodan Vukoja, followed by an ordered investigation by the investigating authorities that are intentionally sabotaging and amateurishly carrying out enquires. The goal was, as our source claims, for the investigation not to reveal any criminal offences so that prosecutor Josip Aničić, who ordered the investigation, could pass an order to suspend the investigation.

“Prosecutor Josip Aničić passed the Order on suspension of the investigation number: T08 0 KTO 0006786 22, informing the complainant thereof by mail 14 months after the decision to suspend the investigation was made. In the mail Prosecutor Aničić states that the deadline for bringing an appeal against the order to suspend the investigation is eight days following receipt of the notice”, claims one of our sources who is well familiar with the affair.

Photo: Despite of all evidence, prosecutor Aničić concluded that there is no evidence to launch an investigation against Galić

An appeal was filed against the decision in which the complainants provided details and facts indicating that the investigation is irregular and intentionally sabotaged and that it has “determined” that the company GA-GI d.o.o. Grude, as well as the persons responsible, Ivica Galić and Ante Galić, “own no property”. Prosecutor Aničić was also sent additional evidence on the assets of the company GA-GI d.o.o., as well as on the assets fully owned by the responsible persons – brothers Ivica and Ante Galić.

We will mention only some of the evidence: Ivica Galić is the owner of the company Amagal d.o.o. Grude (which is an open secret), which he had transferred to his son to avoid paying debt to the Tax Administration and the state.

He also owns a 600 m2 three story house in Gorica, Grude and 6.000 m2 of land.

Galić also owns a house with apartments in Blidinje (which still hasn’t been legalized).

Galić also owns (at least) two apartments in Zagreb downtown, which are registered to his wife Vesna Galić.

This retiree also bought a luxurious Audi Q7 in June of this year. The value of the vehicle exceeds BAM 200.000, and it is registered to the company Amagal d.o.o. Grude. He had bought another luxury car a year before. He is currently transferring the property to his son Ante.

In the meantime we have received yet another document on property of Ivica Galić that is located in Grude Municipality. Ivica Galić owns around 22.430 mof land in this municipality alone. This property includes a large house, a huge garden, as well as forest, pasture and arable land. All property of Ivica Galić is registered in the land registry office, Grude department.

  

You may recall that Ivica Galić was arrested by the Croatian police at the border crossing Vinjani Donji in April of 2021, when according to media reports a kilo of heroin was found in his car. His wife and daughter and two grandchildren were also in this car. He was discovered by a police dog, and his initial defense was “that drugs were planted on him at the auto repair shop”.  Ivica Galić was sentenced to two years in prison for heroin smuggling by a final verdict, however, he still has not started serving the sentence.

During the trial, Galić stated that his financial situation is good and that he owns a profitable company in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the judge responded that he has “knowingly smuggled drugs for resale and that the intention to resell drugs was financial in nature, regardless of his financial status”.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON THE DEBT STARTS IN JANUARY

All this was neglected and completely ignored by the tax authorities. Galić has dual citizenship and it can be assumed that, like Branimir Glavaš and Mamić brothers from Croatia, where he is currently waiting to serve the prison sentence, he could flee to BiH to avoid prison.

In only two months from now, on January 21 next year (when the five-year statute of limitations begins), Galić’s debt as a taxpayer will be erased and the case will become statute-barred, and it is almost frightening that the state will not revoke the previously established insolvency and will waive almost three million BAM in favor of a man who, meanwhile, was convicted of drug smuggling.

All the more so because the criminal complaint stated that the company GA-GI d.o.o. Grude was “fictitiously liquidated” and that its owner and responsible person Ivica Galić owns real estate and vehicles worth several millions, which the FBiH Tax Administration also failed to establish.

It is interesting that the prosecutor Aničić did not find any of this suspicious as to order an additional verification of the property. Everything points to political-judicial protection of Ivica Galić as an influential “businessman” from Herzegovina, and to turning of a blind eye to obvious corruption and crime. This is supported by the response we received from the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office Široki Brijeg, which reads as follows:

“Regarding your email inquiry of November 1, 2023, and following the observations made by the acting prosecutor on the inquiry, you are hereby informed that the case against Ivica Galić from Grude is at the stage of adjudication of the complaint filed against the order not to conduct an investigation.”

Our portal has tried to contact Ivica Galić by sending questions to his son’s email, but even a month after he did not answer them.

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