Enron's Busted Croatian Deal Feb. 5, 2002
By Dr. Tomislav Sunic
ZAGREB, Feb. 5 - Further to our report about Enron's busted deal with
Croatia's late president, Franjo Tudjman (see Item 2 of this TiM Bulletin),
here is a piece by Dr. Tomislav (Thomas) Sunic, who contributed this
comment to TiM from Zagreb, Croatia. Dr. Sunic holds a PhD in political
science. He is a former US professor and author of several books.
"The former Croatian government under the late president Franjo Tudjman was
eager to cut the deal with the US energy giant Enron. The reason behind it
was its eagerness to obtain favor of the Clinton's administration.
Accordingly, Enron was supposed to build a huge power plant in tiny Croatia
and supply the country with cheap energy. A Croat-American lady and
self-proclaimed "lobbyist," Ms. Zdenka Gast, quite vocal in the Croat media
during Tudjman's reign, played a role as a mediator between Enron and the
Later on, with the arrival to power in January 2000 of the new
neo-communist liberal government in Croatia, the deal was unilaterally
scrapped. The new Croatian government allegedly viewed it as detrimental to
Croatian economy. But this was, apparently just a minor move in a larger
effort to distance itself from Tudjman's legacy - both the good and the bad
one. Zdenka Gast, disappeared from the public view and one has not heard from
her ever since. Today, there is a great deal of media silence in Croatia
about the role of Croat politicians in the Enron scandal. One can speculate
with good reason that other local movers and shakers in the former and
current Croat government were involved, or better, yet may have received
hefty kick-backs from the giant? At the time of the signing of the Enron deal,
a prominent go-between-man was Mr. Goran Granic, who survived the
government purges upon the arrival of the new leftist-liberal government
in 2000. Granic even made it to the top as the Vice Prime Minister in the new
government. As an old Balkan proverb goes, "one hand washes the other."
It is worth noting that Goran Granic is a brother of the former Tudjman
minister of foreign affairs, Mate Granic, a largely incompetent stuttering,
greasy-palmed politician, displaying an extraordinary penchant for
enriching himself, his extended family and his cronies.
At the time of the signing of the Enron deal, William Montgomery was the US
Ambassador to Croatia. After the unilateral scrapping by the deal in 2000
by the new Croat government, Montgomery did not hide his fumed anger. But
since the subsequent surfacing of the Enron wheeling and dealing in the
USA, Montgomery, now a US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, remains pretty tacit.
For its unilateral breach of contract, the Croat government has had to pay
fines to Enron, although nobody in Croatia knows how big was the penalty
tab. One thing remains certain, though. Since January of this year, Croat
citizens' electricity bills have doubled."
Dr. Tomislav Sunic, Zagreb, Croatia
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