Croatia’s tourist board has denied an Australian travel blogger ever worked for them after she made the claim to boost her profile before her and her husband were thrown behind bars accused of defrauding almost $600,000 from investors.
Adriana Matak, 36, and her Investment advisor husband Luka Matak, 31, have been holed up in Croatia’s Remetinec Prison on the outskirts of 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 laid and the couple deny any wrongdoing.
In her profile, Mrs Matak claimed to have worked for the Croatian Tourist Board for several years.
The Croatian Tourist Board have denied Adriana Matak (pictured left with husband Luka Matak), 36, worked for them after she made the claim to boost her profile
But the tourist board have asserted that Ms Matak’s claim of employment was ‘false’ and have since launched an internal investigation into the matter.
Senior officials were reportedly ‘shocked’ that the alleged conwoman has used the orgsanisation to boost her own profile.
‘Ms. Adriana Matak (maiden name Kupresak) has never been employed by, nor is an employee of the Croatian National Tourist Board’, the board told Herald Sun in a statement.
‘Any claim by Ms Matak or others suggesting this is false.’
The organisation noted that she did ‘write a freelance text and partook in two group press trips’.
‘Her participation and content produced at the time were up to standard,’ the statement read.
‘The CNTB was shocked to hear of her arrest and the allegations surrounding it.’
The Board did not make any further comment but said they were ‘certain the authorities are handling this’.
Mrs Matak marketed herself as a travel blogger after moving to Croatia four years ago.
In was through this block she claimed to have worked for the Croatian Tourist Board.
‘I am fortunate to have collaborated with the National Tourism Board of Croatia and various local tourist boards on creating content revolving around the country…’ she wrote in one entry.
She also claimed in a Croatian newspaper to have worked for the organisation for two years.
‘I recently attended the second part of the Croatian National Tourist Board’s Visit Slavonia campaign…’ she is reported as saying in the paper.
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 (nee Kupresak) promoted herself as a travel blogger after moving to Croatia four years ago
Before her relocation to Croatia, Mrs Matak allegedly worked as a hostess in a high-end gentlemen’s club in London.
She has also opened up on previous struggles with alcohol and addiction in a piece for Life as a Human magazine in 2020.
‘I am open about my new journey and past struggles because I know what it’s like to contemplate taking your own life and I know what it’s like to look for any reason not to,’ she wrote
‘It’s ironic because as a travel blogger I always looked for the road less traveled and as an addict, sought the road most had already traveled.
‘I am living proof that you can turn your life around and live the life of your dreams, you just need to give yourself a real honest chance.’
The article mentions her work had been previously published on Lonely Planet and The Huffington Post.
Meanwhile, Mr Matak previously worked as a barman when the couple resided in Sydney.
He later described himself in UK company documents as a ‘hedge fund director’ who started investing when he was 15, ‘purely as a hobby, starting with $2,000’.
The Mataks have swapped their lavish lifestyles for crowded cells in Remetinec Prison (pictured)
It’s a stark contrast to the lavish life the Mataks previously enjoyed, with pictures showing them enjoying first-class flights, restaurant meals, VIP boxes at football matches, Rolex watches and Hermes handbags while splitting their time between London and Croatia
The couple are currently in Remetinec jail, which is Croatia’s largest prison and is renowned for its overcrowding.
It’s a stark contrast to the lavish life the Mataks previously enjoyed, with pictures showing them enjoying first-class flights, Michelin-starred restaurant meals, VIP boxes at football matches, Rolex watches and Hermes handbags while splitting their time between London and Croatia.
The couple also enjoyed a stint in Dubai during Covid lockdowns.
Sources allege Mr Matak received £2.5million ($4.9million) from investors in Croatia, Britain and Australia who were promised returns of up to 20 per cent a year, The Daily Telegraph reported
One UK investor invested £150,000 ($283,000) with Mr Matak after the pair first met through their respective partners in 2021.
When he requested to withdraw his money, he claims he was given ‘bulls**t excuses’ for months by Mr Matak, who eventually went to Croatia allegedly without giving back the investor’s money.
An Australian investor who claimed he had known Mr Matak since primary school invested $45,000 with him in 2017 and three other friends put in similar amounts.
When the investors asked for their money back, they claim Mr Matak failed to return the cash.