Croatia’s tourism board has denied an Australian travel blogger ever worked for them after she claimed to boost her profile before she and her husband were thrown behind bars, accused of defrauding nearly 600,000 dollars from investors.
Adriana Matak, 36, and her investment advisor husband Luka Matak, 31, 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.
In her profile, Ms Matak claims to have worked for several years for the Croatian Tourist Board.
The Croatian Tourist Board has denied that Adriana Matak (pictured left with her husband Luka Matak), 36, worked for them after she made a statement aimed at improving her reputation.
But the tourism board claimed Ms Matak’s job application was “false” and has since launched an internal investigation into it.
Senior officials were said to be “shocked” that the alleged scammer used the organization to boost his own notoriety.
‘MS. Adriana Matak (maiden name Kupresak) has never been employed and is not an employee of the Croatian National Tourist Board,” the office said. Sun Herald in a report.
“Any claims by Ms Matak or others suggesting this are false.”
The organization noted that she had “written an independent piece and participated in two group press trips.”
“His participation and the content produced at the time were up to par,” the statement said.
“The CNTB was shocked to learn of his arrest and the allegations surrounding it.”
The council made no further comment but said it was “confident that the authorities are handling this matter”.
Ms Matak introduced herself as a travel blogger after moving to Croatia four years ago.
It was through this blockage that she claimed to have worked for the Croatian Tourist Board.
“I’m fortunate to have collaborated with the Croatian National Tourist Board and various local tourism boards to create content relevant to the entire country…” she wrote in a post.
She also claimed in a Croatian newspaper that she had worked for the organization for two years.
“I recently took part in the second part of the Croatian National Tourist Board’s Visit Slavonia campaign…” she was quoted as saying in the newspaper.
The former Sydney couple are accused of defrauding five people of around 350,000 euros (A$587,000) and are currently behind bars in Croatia.
Adriana Matak (née Kupresak) introduced herself as a travel blogger after moving to Croatia four years ago.
Before her move to Croatia, Ms Matak reportedly worked as a hostess at an upscale gentlemen’s club in London.
She also 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 his work has previously been published on Lonely Planet and The Huffington Post.
Meanwhile, Mr Matak previously worked as a bartender when the couple resided in Sydney.
He later 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.”
The Mataks traded their lavish lifestyle for overcrowded cells in Remetinec prison (photo)
It’s a stark contrast to the lavish lifestyle the Mataks previously enjoyed, with photos showing them enjoying first-class flights, restaurant meals, VIP boxes at football matches, Rolex watches and handbags Hermès while dividing their time between London and Croatia.
The couple is currently incarcerated in Remetinec Prison, the largest prison in Croatia and notorious for its overcrowding.
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.
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.
A 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.
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.