Ex-Croatian PM Charged With Bribe

Posted September 23rd, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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Croatian prosecutors have indicted former prime minister Ivo Sanader for taking a bribe from a Hungarian energy company that secured the firm a dominant position in Croatia's market.

In a statement Friday, the prosecutors say Mr. Sanader reached the deal with Hungary's MOL energy group in 2008 for $13.5 million, giving the company about a 47-percent share in Croatia's oil and gas firm INA. The prosecutors say they also delivered documents to Hungarian authorities implicating “a high-ranking MOL official” in the deal.

Both Mr. Sanader and MOL have denied any wrongdoing.

Mr. Sanader is facing several other investigations for abuse of power. The former prime minister was charged last month with accepting a bribe in dealings with an Austrian bank and embezzling millions of dollars from state-run firms.

Mr. Sanader became Croatia's prime minister in 2003 and was re-elected for a second term in 2007. He stepped down abruptly in June 2009. He was arrested in Austria last December and extradited to Croatia in July.

Fighting corruption is one of the key criteria Zagreb has to meet to join the European Union.