news 03 Sep 12

Fifth Indictment Filed Against Former Croatian PM

A fifth indictment has been filed against Ivo Sanader for damaging the state budget to the tune of 26 million kuna (3.6 million euro), a Zagreb County court spokesperson Kresimir Devcic confirmed on Saturday.

Boris Pavelic

Sanader was indicted with former agriculture minister Petar Cobankovic, former deputy Stjepan Fiolic and one other person.

Prosecutors claim that the damage was done by selling a building built by Fiolic's firm to the Ministry of Regional Development for more than twice the price that the building was actually worth.

Prosecutors say that Sanader and Cobankovic helped push the decision on the sale through government.

The Zagreb court spokesperson explained that the judge will review the indictment and then give it to the indicted to answer.

After that, the trial chamber will decide if the indictment is credible - a process that could last several weeks.

Four indictments against Sanader are already in place, for taking bribes, drawing money out of public enterprises and the illegal public financing of friends' firms.

Sanader is undergoing two trials right now at the County Court in Zagreb, while a third is to start in the coming months.

In one, Sanader is charged with illegally taking 15 million kuna (2 million euro) of public enterprise money, drawn out by the former ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ , via Fimi media, a PR firm. In this case, the HDZ itself is among the indicted.

The second trial unified two indictments against Sanader.

The first is for allegedly taking half a million euro in bribes from the Hypo bank of Austria in 1995 for helping the bank to enter the Croatian market. Sanader was deputy foreign minister at the time.

The second indictment unified in the second trial is for allegedly receiving 10 ten million euro in bribes from the Hungarian oil company, MOL.

This indictment claims that Sanader, then Prime Minister, received 10 million euro in bribes for giving MOL rights over the Croatian oil company, Ina.

That was done by changing the shareholders' agreement between the Croatian government and MOL over the ownership of Ina.

The fourth indictment charges Sanader with having allegedly forced the state electricity firm, HEP, to supply cheaper electricity to Dioki, the chemical firm owned by Sanader's friend, Robert Jezic.

This indictment claims that Dioki illegaly gained half a million euro through those transactions, while HEP was damaged financially. The trial in that case is to start in coming months.

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