ZAGREB, 7 Oct 2021 – The Zagreb Municipal Court has sentenced Boris Štitić, 36, to two years and four months in prison pending an appeal for attempting to extort money from three members of the national COVID-19 crisis management team – Alemka Markotić, Krunoslav Capak, and Vili Beroš, Jutarnji List daily said on Thursday.
Štitić, a Slovenian and Croatian citizen, is a nurse with three convictions for fraud.
Under the latest sentence, he must also pay over HRK 10,000 in court costs. He has been released from detention, in which he had been since October 2020, and the stay behind bars will be counted towards the final sentence.
Although he claimed he was innocent at the start of the trial, he eventually confessed, justifying his actions with the COVID restrictions and the impossibility to see his child, who lives with the mother in Slovenia, during the pandemic, although a few weeks before sending threatening e-mails to the three officials, they spent several weeks on the coast.
The court did not find any mitigating circumstances, finding as aggravating that Štitić attempted to extort money from persons engaged in the fight against the pandemic and committing the offenses in an, especially odious manner, without any empathy for others, subjecting the victims to stress by making death threats against them and their families.
On 30 September 2020, Štitić sent e-mails to Markotić, Capak, and Beroš in which he said they would die unless they paid €100,000 in the Monero cryptocurrency.
Markotić is the director of Zagreb’s Dr. Fran Mihaljević Infectious Diseases Hospital, Capak is the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, and Beroš is the minister of health.
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