A high-flying Australian couple who appeared to be living the perfect life of luxury overseas are now behind bars, accused of defrauding investors out of almost $600,000.
Investment advisor Luka Matak and his travel blogger wife Adriana Kupresak have been incarcerated in Croatia’s Remetinec prison, on the outskirts of the capital Zagreb, since their arrest earlier this month.
The former Sydney couple are accused of defrauding five people of around 350,000 euros (A$587,000).
No charges have been filed and the couple deny any wrongdoing.
Remetinec Prison is the largest prison in Croatia, is notorious for overcrowding and has been described as worse than Russian prisons.
A former Croatian prime minister, a Nazi war criminal and a Russian activist are among the current and former detainees.
It’s a stark contrast to the lavish lifestyle the Mataks previously enjoyed, with photos showing them enjoying first-class flights, meals at Michelin-starred restaurants, VIP boxes at football matches, Rolex watches and Hermès handbags while dividing their time between London and Croatia.
Luka Matak and his travel blogger wife Adriana Kupresak are accused of defrauding investors
The couple also enjoyed a stay in Dubai during the Covid lockdowns.
Sources say Mr Matak received £2.5 million ($4.9 million) from investors in Croatia, Britain and Australia who were promised returns of up to 20 per cent. hundred a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Mr Matak described himself in British company documents as a “hedge fund manager” who began investing at the age of 15, “purely as a hobby, starting with $2,000”. .
He boasted in a promotional brochure for the ‘Hedgehog Capital Fund’ that the nest egg had reached $100,000 by the time he graduated from Macquarie University in 2015 and that he now had £6 million ($11.3 million), or half of the money in the fund.
The brochure claims the fund was managed by Mr Matak and British property developer Alax Waxman, who now claims he never obtained
“I invested money and when I wanted to get the money back, it was not possible,” he told the newspaper.
Another British investor invested £150,000 ($283,000) with Mr Matak after the two men first met through their respective partners in 2021.
When he asked to withdraw his money, he claims he was given “farcical excuses” for months by Mr Matak, who eventually traveled to Croatia without returning the investor’s money.
Adriana Matak (née Kupresak) was a glamorous travel blogger before her arrest
An Australian investor who claimed to have known Mr Matak since primary school invested $45,000 with him in 2017 and three other friends invested similar sums.
When the investors demanded their money back, they claimed Mr Matak had not returned the money.
Ms Matak worked for several years for the Croatian Tourist Board and ran a tourism blog, which was taken down.
She opened up about her past struggles with alcohol and addiction in an article for Life as a Human magazine in 2020.
“I’m open about my new journey and my past struggles because I know what it’s like to contemplate suicide and I know what it’s like to look for a reason not to,” she said. -she writes.
“It’s ironic because as a travel blogger I’ve always sought the road less traveled, and as a travel addict I’ve sought the path most have already traveled.
“I am living proof that you can change your life and live the life of your dreams, you just have to give yourself a real, honest chance.”
The article mentions that Ms. Matak’s work has previously been published on Lonely Planet and the Huffington Post.
Luka Matak and his wife Adriana deny any wrongdoing and no charges have yet been brought despite spending the last three weeks behind bars.
Russian activist Aisoltan Niyazova, associated with the anti-Putin group Pussy Riot, will never forget her week-long stay in Remetinec prison in 2022.
She shared a cell with seven other women and had two hours of fresh air in a small, dark space between two buildings.
Male inmates can exercise in a large courtyard with a volleyball court, table tennis tables and badminton courts.
“You would think that nothing could be worse than a Russian prison, but I can officially confirm that Croatian prisons are a hundred times worse,” Niyazova told the Meduza news site last year.
Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivor Sanader is currently serving an eight-year sentence in Remetinec prison.
It is also where World War II concentration camp commander Dinko Šakić spent his last days before dying in 2008.
The Mataks traded their lavish lifestyle for overcrowded cells in Remetinec Prison