The prosecutor in the first trial of the former Prime Minister and former president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, Ivo Sanader, said in her closing statement before the Zagreb County Court on Wednesday that the prosecution had proved beyond doubt all counts of bribery and war profiteering against the accused in the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank and INA-MOL cases.
Referring to the first count charging Sanader with taking a 3.6 million kuna commission from the Austrian bank, the Deputy Director of the Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK), Tamara Laptos, repeated that this was a case of war profiteering because as the then deputy foreign minister Sanader exploited circumstances during the Homeland War and an extremely high inflation rate when it was difficult for Croatia to obtain money on international financial markets.
She refuted Sanader's defence and asserted that the testimonies given by most of the witnesses indicated that Sanader conducted negotiations even though they were opened by Croatia's foreign minister at the time, Mate Granic, following an initiative put forward by Alois Mock, Austria's foreign minister at the time.
The prosecution claims that Sanader accepted the money from the Austrian bank, which in 1994 was just breaking out on the Croatian market, on behalf of Croatian emigrant Eugen Laxa whom, as several witnesses testified, he had met in the early nineties. Sanader arranged with the then director of the bank, Wolfgang Kulterer, to pay the commission to Laxa, said Laptos. She noted that if it was indeed Laxa who received the money the bank would have been aware of this fact, adding that the signature on the deposit slip indicates that Laxa in fact did not receive the money.
Laptos concluded her closing statement by saying that Sanader exploited his role as the chief negotiator with the Hypo bank promising the bank a privileged position.
The trial continued with the closing statement by USKOK prosecutor Vanja Marusic on the second count against Sanader charging him with taking a bribe of 10 million euros to ensure a dominant position for the Hungarian oil company MOL in Croatia's INA.
In his closing statement on Tuesday, Sanader dismissed all the charges, claiming he was the victim of a process that was launched against him by Chief Prosecutor Mladen Bajic on the orders of Jadranka Kosor, Sanader's successor as Prime Minister and head of the HDZ.