Fimi Media trial

Former FM denies knowledge of HDZ party slush fund

25.02.2013 u 12:33


The former deputy prime minister and foreign and European integration minister in the previous Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) government, Gordan Jandrokovic, testified on Monday in the trial of former Prime Minister and HDZ president Ivo Sanader and the party as a legal entity, stating that he had never heard of a party slush fund or of money being syphoned through the Fimi Media marketing agency.

Jandrokovic claims that he had only heard about the agency in 2009 in the press and that he had not ever heard that anyone had suggested that the agency should be engaged by ministries. The prosecution claims that around HRK 70 million was syphoned through Fimi Media and other state owned companies to fill a party slush fund.

It was only later that Jandrokovic found out that his ministry had had dealings with the agency, after which this biggest corruption scandal in Croatia was dubbed the Fimi Media scandal.

"The agency was hired to organise two conferences and to graphically design annual planners which cost HRK 70,000. I ascertained this only after stories about Fimi Media appeared in the press. I checked with my associates how and why Fimi Media was chosen and was told that these were minor jobs that did not require a selection process. Several offers were obtained and Fimi Media was the most favourable", Jandrokovic testified.

He added that he did not enquire any further after he had ascertained that everything had been conducted according to law. In response to questions from the defence, he said that the ministry's total marketing bill amounted to around two to three million kuna.

Jandrokovic said that the HDZ did not need any slush fund as they had a budget of around 40 to 50 million kuna in an election year collected from membership fees, donations and budget funds. He added that the party presidency did not vote formally on financial matters even though according to the statute the presidency was responsible to take account of this too.

"The presidency was the dominant body of the party and we discussed political and professional matters and that took up most of our time", he said.

Another former minister in the HDZ cabinet, Branko Vukelic, who was also set to testify today, did not appear due to illness.

The trial is to continue on Tuesday with former deputy prime minister and economy minister Damir Polancec to take the stand. Testifying earlier in the trial as a witness for the prosecution, Polancec claimed that no one in the party's presidency ever opposed Sanader's recommendations.