Sanader: MOL Deal Was Good for Croatia

Croatian former prime minister Ivo Sanader claimed “he did good for Croatia” on Tuesday during the second day of his defence speech in the first of two bribery trials.After he denied charges of receiving funds from Hypo bank in 1994 on Monday, Ivo Sanader continued his defence by denying the second part of the indictment.

This is that he allegedly took 10 million euro in bribes from the Hungarian oil company MOL, in order to give MOL a dominant position in the Croatian oil company, INA.

MOL was a shareholder in INA, but Sanader is accused of giving MOL more authority in the company than its shareholding should have allowed.

The two indictments were consolidated last November, soon after the trial for the Hypo Bank affair started at the end of October 2011.

Sanader claimed that the shareholding agreement about Ina, which his government signed with Mol in 2009, “was useful for Croatia, contrary to the prosecution claims that it was harmful”.

The former Prime Minister emphasised that all ministers in the government voted for the agreement, and that all political partners in the then ruling coalition discussed it thoroughly.

He noted that Ina was “on brink of bankruptcy” before the signing of the shareholding agreement in 2009, and that today Ina is a succesful company.

“A successful Ina is in Cratia’s interest. What is in the Croatian interest: that Ina is managed by incompetent Croats, or competent strangers?,” he asked.

Sanader finished his defence speech on Tuesday. On Wednesday the prosecution was to deliver it’s closing arguments, and on Thursday the defence.

The sentence is expected next week.

Sanader is involved in one more trial, together with the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, the party he used to lead, and seven other HDZ officials and enterpreneurs.

They are together charged with illegally drawing millions of euro from public firms and enterprises to support a “slush fund” via a PR firm, Fimi media, after which the case was then named.

The “Fimi media” trial started in April and is expected to end in at least a year.

One more indictment has been filed against Sanader, charging him and two senior HDZ officials with selling a building, which one of them built, to the government for a much higher price.

At least one more investigation against Sanader is on-going.

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