Horvat will be questioned by the State Prosecutor’s Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK).
Police searched his home on Saturday morning.
Three other officials are being investigated in connection with the case: Velimir Zunac, an official in the Ministry of Regional Development, Ana Mandac, Horvat’s former assistant, and Katica Miskovic, director of the Directorate for Assisted Areas, local media reported.
Croatian PM Andrej Plenković addressed the public.
"Minister Horvat was arrested this morning. As far as I understand, I see that these are events from 2018, when he was the Minister of Economy in our first government.
"[Ministers] Aladrovic and Milosevic are mentioned, it is indicative of the timing, especially after this week. I expect that now we will all once again confirm that the DORH is not under the HDZ, that they work independently. But obviously they have some reason for this dramatic urgency, including the arrest of the minister. I expect them to inform the public why it is so urgent that the minister is to be arrested.
"I doubt it’s a crime when someone from the system leaks information to reporters, and then the media creates an impression of drama.
"I call on the head of the State Attorney's Office, what is so urgent to arrest the minister, I ask they to explain that. I believe that if they have, they will show solid evidence.
"To me, this move seems disproportionate to the subject being worked on. But I am sure they are working legally and impartially, so let them inform the public about it.
"The parliamentary majority is stable, I contacted them all, they are all with the government, no extravagance is on the agenda. What will happen, we'll see, we have no more knowledge. When we learn more, then we will make decisions.
"To correct the wrong quotes, I said that the opposition will not fire my ministers, but I can. I constantly have the mandates of all members at my disposal. I’ll decide on that when we find out more about what it’s all about.
"I expect the DORH [State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia], they know what this is about, that because of the interest of the public and the very interest of the government and all of us, they need to explain it.
"After a week like this, we have something from 2018. These are low-value programs, in total it was 15 million kunas. We are talking about grants to small companies, I do not see the urgency and why the Minister was not invited for an interview.
"We have a week when the government has done spectacular things, then this timing is not neutral.
"In any case, a very unusal case. This timing is very interesting.
"I'll call the attorney general, ask her what this is, what it's about.
"Nor DORH, nor anybody else will take down the government", Plenković concluded. ■