The deputy head of the Croatian Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK), Tamara Laptos, said on Monday that all evidence against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, including video footage of his meeting with the MOL board chairman, Zsolt Hernadi, in a Zagreb restaurant, was legal and admissible as evidence.
Earlier in the day, the defence team for the former Croatian premier said that they would challenge the admissibility of the video footage as evidence.
Laptos told reporters that the Zagreb County Court, which upheld the indictment against Sander in the MOL-INA case on Monday morning, would decide on whether it would enter the video footage as evidence at a preparatory hearing at a later date.
She confirmed that USKOK proposed the merger of the MOL-INA case with the ongoing trial of Sanader in the Hypo bank loan case, in which he was accused of abuse of office as deputy foreign minister.
Asked why now the prosecutors decided to propose the merger of the two cases, Laptos said that in both cases Sanader was the sole indictee, after the prosecution dropped the investigation against former deputy prime minister Damir Polancec for the MOL case and the proceedings against Hernadi had been transferred to the Hungarian authorities.
USKOK accuses Sanader of abusing his powers as prime minister and taking EUR 10 million in bribes from MOL board chairman Hernadi in order to enable the Hungarian oil giant to have a dominant position in the Croatian oil company INA.