Croatian Ex-PM Awaits Verdict on November 20

The verdict on Croatia’s former prime minister, Ivo Sanader, in the first of two trials for bribery will be delivered on November 20, presiding judge of County Court in Zagreb Ivan Turudic announced on Thursday.Sanader is charged with taking half a million euro in bribes from Austria’s Hypo bank in 1994 in order to allow the bank to enter the Croatian financial market.

He is also charged with taking 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 in November 2011, soon after the trial for the Hypo bank affair started in October 2011.

The trial lasted for one year, and about 30 witnesses testified in the court.

JJudge Turudic announced the date of the verdict after the defence delivered its final speech, insisting that the defendant was not guilty and requesting his release.

“Prosecutors did not prove the charges. They changed arguments during the trial as their evidences proved false, but the main thesis remained the same,” Sanader’s attorney, Cedo Prodanovic, said.

In a two and a half hour final speech, the defence emphasised that the incrimination for war profiteering, for which Sanader is charged in allegedly taking provision from Hypo bank in 1994, was not founded in constitutional law.

“According to the European Court for Human Rights, Ivo Sanader didn’t have a just trial”, Prodanovic said.

If found guilty, Sanader could face 15 years in jail for this offence.

One more trial against Sanader is ongoing, and another indictment has been filed against him.

At least one more investigation is also ongoing.

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