Contrary to the testimony of the principal witness in the INA-MOL case, Robert Jezic, Hungarian businessman Imre Fazekas told the Zagreb County Court on Thursday that the five million euros deposited in the bank account of Jezic's Swiss company Xenoplast was not intended for former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader, who is charged with taking a bribe from the Hungarian oil company MOL in exchange for ceding to it management rights in the Croatian oil company INA.
Jezic told the court earlier that the five million euros, a half of the bribe allegedly intended for Sanader, had been paid into the account of his Swiss company with the help of Fazekas as MOL's trusted person.
However, Fazekas today denied Jezic's claims, saying that he cooperated with Jezic's Xenoplast on a deal that was part of the Druzba Adria project.
The witness said that he started doing business with Jezic because he was aware that Jezic could help in the implementation of the project with his political connections, but that Jezic was also interesting as a partner because of land his Dioki company had near Omisalj on the island of Krk.
The total value of contracts signed for the purchase of the land and oil transport was five million euros. One contract brought Jezic 2.6 million euros and another contract 2.4 million, said Fazekas. He added that the contracts were signed in Zurich by director Stefan Hurlimann on Xenoplast's behalf and that Hurlimann then sent the documents to Cyprus where they were signed by representatives of the law firm representing Hangarn Oil and Ceroma Holding.
The two companies are run by Fazekas and are reportedly owned by the Russian oil magnate Mikhail Gutseriyev.
Gutseriyev is expected to testify in the trial on Friday. Just as Fazekas did, Gutseriyev, too, said in a parallel investigation conducted in this case by Hungarian authorities, that the money in Jezic's bank account was not intended for Sanader.
Fazekas also said that he explicitly told Xenoplast's representative that the money in question must not be used for financing politicians as it was illegal.
The witness added that the deal with Xenoplast eventually failed because they realised that their expectations would not be met. They asked Jezic, who at the time had already been arrested, to refund the money but were told that Xenoplast no longer existed and that it was merged with the Swiss company Dioki AG.
Asked by Sanader's defence about the former PM's position on the Druzba Adria project, Fazekas said that the project would probably have been implemented had Sanader supported it.