19.11.2015 22:55 h

Dinamo Zagreb boss remanded in custody

Dinamo Zagreb chief Zdravko Mamic was remanded in custody for a month on Thursday, state-run HRT television reported, a day after his arrest over an alleged multi-million-euro embezzlement.

A Zagreb court judge decided that Mamic, considered the most powerful man in Croatian football, should stay in custody to prevent him from influencing witnesses.

However, he could be released on bail upon payment of 14-million kuna (1.8 million euros, $1.9 million), the judge ruled.

Mamic was arrested on Wednesday along with his son, a top Croatian football official and two local businessmen.

While the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) executive president Damir Vrbanovic will be released, Mamic's son Mario and the two businessmen will also stay in custody for a month.

The five men are suspected of embezzling millions of euros from the club through a "criminal enterprise" involving player transfers, the national anti-corruption USKOK bureau said.

They were allegedly concluding fictitious contracts between Dinamo and several companies from Switzerland, Britain and Hong Kong, USKOK said in a statement.

"The contracts related to non-existing debts of Dinamo towards players and non-existing agency services in player transfers... and cost Dinamo at least 78 million kunas," the statement said.

The suspicious transfers took place between 2004 and April this year.

Local media reported that they included the transfers of three Croatian internationals -- Brazil-born striker Eduardo da Silva to Arsenal as well as defenders Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren to Manchester City and Lyon respectively.

But, Mamic's brother Zoran, who is Dinamo Zagreb coach, on Thursday labelled the allegations "exclusively politically motivated".

The Mamic brothers and Vrbanovic are already under investigation by USKOK on suspicion of giving and receiving bribes, tax evasion and other offences. These alleged crimes cost Dinamo Zagreb almost 118 million kunas and the state 12 million kunas.

The three men and a tax inspector were arrested in July but were later released on bail.

Mamic, 56, is a controversial figure well known for his outspoken behaviour and for threatening journalists.

Last year he was convicted of slander and ordered to pay 17,000 euros to a lawyer representing da Silva.

In 2014, he was acquitted of inciting hatred with a slur against an ethnic Serb minister.