Croatia begins joint trial of Sanader and MOL chief

The Zagreb county court begins the joint trial of former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and President-CEO of Hungarian gas group MOL, Zsolt Hernádi.

editor: REMIX NEWS

The Croatian prosecution said they will bring “material and testimonial evidence” supporting the guilt of the accused. Hernádi’s lawyer Laura Valkovic did not give an opening statement saying she would only do so after the evidence has been presented.

This July, the Budapest Court denied Croatia’s request to extradite Hernádi, on grounds that “the conditions of a fair trial cannot be guaranteed”.

On Monday the Croatian court sentenced Sanader to two and a half years in prison for war profiteering and ordered him to repay the state US$500,000 he took in bribes from Austria’s Hypo Group Alpe Adria bank. He will not have to go to jail, having served the time in a previous sentence and detention period.

Croatia is accusing Hernádi of bribing then-Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader with EUR 10 million in 2008, when MOL was negotiating with the Croatian state to increase its stake in Croatian oil and gas company INA to 49 percent.

Sanader

Ivo Sanader in a Croatian court

At the time, MOL and INA, the flagship companies of Hungary and Croatia, respectively, were valued at US$7 billion each. MOL eventually got the desired stake in INA. Hernádi has always denied any wrongdoing during the negotiations with Croatia.

Sanader was prime minister of Croatia between 2003-2009 and during his tenure he was accused by the opposition of taking bribes, war profiteering and selling state assets, with damage to the Croatian budget estimated at HRK 207 million (US$32 million).

 


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