Croatia: Ex-PM Faces New Power Abuse Charge

Published: 16 September 2013


Ivo Sanader, former prime minister of Croatia, faces his sixth indictment, reports Global Post. Sanader, 60, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for graft in 2012.

Sanader, who served as prime minister from 2003 until 2009, is accused of conspiring with Croatian power company HEP head Ivan Mravak to make business deals which caused losses to HEP of US$14 million. HEP purchased expensive foreign energy and sold electricity below market value. Sanader denied wrongdoing, saying that the deals were lawful.

Mravak also faces charges after a year and a half investigation.

Sanader was jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of accepting millions in bribes from foreign businesses in 2012. He was discovered to have offered controlling rights in Croatia's public oil company INA to Hungarian energy group MOL in exchange for a bribe of €5 million, or US$6.4 million.

Sanader was also found guilty of accepting a bribe from Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria in 1995 as deputy foreign minister while Croatia was under an international trade embargo. The act, undertaken as war in Croatia was winding down, was declared "war profiteering" by prosecutors.

His imprisonment was hailed as a landmark anticorruption case ahead of Croatia joining the European Union in July of the following year.

Sanader, who is facing two additional corruption charges, called the charges "political persecution".