Sanader case

Former economy ministry official testifies in Sanader trial

  • Autor:
  • Zadnja izmjena 23.02.2012 11:11
  • Objavljeno 23.02.2012 u 11:06
Ivo Sanader

Ivo Sanader

Izvor: Pixsell / Autor: Pixsell

A former head of the Economy Ministry's department for the energy sector, Branko Horacek, on Thursday testified at the Zagreb County Court in the continuation of a trial of former Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union leader Ivo Sanader for war profiteering in the Hypo bank case and taking of bribes from officials of the Hungarian oil company MOL.

Horacek said that he participated in talks on the separation of INA oil company's loss-making gas business from the company at the proposal of former Economy Minister Damir Polancec. At one of such meetings, MOL suggested that the shareholders' agreement on INA be changed and that the company's non-profitable gas business be divested.

The anti-corruption agency USKOK charges Sanader with taking from MOL director Zsolt Hernadi 10 million euros in bribes in exchange for enabling MOL to take over management rights in INA, from which the gas business was to be separated.

The meetings were chaired by Polancec and Hernadi and eventually it was agreed that INA's gas business should be divested under certain conditions, Horacek said.

In the ongoing trial, the court has so far heard a number of members of a commission in charge of amending the shareholders' agreement on INA between the Croatian government and MOL which held only a few sessions, failing to adopt any conclusions before it was dissolved.

After Horacek, the court was to hear today the testimony of attorney Zoran Markovic, who in a separate case faces allegations that together with former managers of Podravka food company and their associates he defrauded that company.

The trial was adjourned several weeks ago because presiding judge Ivan Turudic had to undergo surgery. Since the last hearing on January 13, Sanader has been questioned as a suspect about the sale of electricity below market prices to TLM and Aluminij, whereby the state-owned HEP power supplier was allegedly defrauded of HRK 650 million.

He has also been questioned in the Dioki case in which he and Dioki company owner Robert Jezic are believed to have attempted to gain an illegal profit of 10 million euros for Dioki at the expense of the state-owned oil pipeline operator JANAF.

Two weeks ago, the Zagreb County Court also upheld the indictment in the Fimi Media case in which Sanader and eight other legal and physical persons are charged with syphoning more than 70 million kuna from state institutions and ministries. The accused include for the first time a political party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

It is estimated that Sanader has altogether embezzled some HRK 150 million of state budget funds.

Sanader was granted a provisional release on December 16 after posting HRK 12.6 million (EUR 1.68 million) bail, handing over his passport and promising not to leave his place of residence.

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