Judge Denies Bail for Ex-Croatian PM

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A Croatian court has ordered former prime minister Ivo Sanader to remain in jail pending his trial on corruption charges.

Judge Kresimir Devcic of the Zagreb court ruled Monday that Mr. Sanader should not be released on bail because he is a flight risk. The judge made the decision despite an offer of more than $2.2 million from Mr. Sanader's lawyers. The former prime minister's wife and friends had offered their homes as collateral for his bail.

Mr. Sanader, who stepped down from his post in 2009, has been indicted on two separate corruption charges and is facing several investigations for abuse of power. He was charged last month with accepting a bribe in dealings with an Austrian bank and embezzling millions of dollars from state-run firms. His first trial is set to begin October 28.

Mr. Sanader has denied any wrongdoing.

He was arrested in Austria last December and extradited to Croatia where he has been in jail since July. Mr. Sanader has denied he was trying to flee to avoid prosecution, saying he was on his way back to Croatia when he was arrested.

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