- Title: Croatian court finds head of Hungary's MOL, Croatia's ex-PM guilty of bribery
- Date: 30th December 2019
- Summary: ZAGREB, CROATIA (DECEMBER 30, 2019) (REUTERS) IVO SANADER'S DEFENCE LAWYER, JADRANKA SLOKOVIC, LEAVING COURT BUILDING (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) IVO SANADER'S DEFENCE LAWYER, JADRANKA SLOKOVIC, SAYING: "Well we are not surprised, this is what we had expected, because the whole process was conducted in such a way, during the trial the rights of defendants and their defence were systematically violated. During the trial, after we once made a comment that the trial is unfair, the judge replied by saying that we would later get a chance to lodge appeals. So we knew what the outcome would be very early on." (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) ZSOLT HERNADI'S DEFENCE LAWYER, DALIBOR VALINCIC, SAYING: "We are deeply disappointed with this verdict, but we cannot say that we did not expect this outcome, considering the way that the trial was conducted, in such a way to prevent the defence from proving the innocence of the defendants. So we are really not surprised by this. I have to say that it's disheartening that the verdict is based on the deposition of just a single witness, whose statement was in contradiction to every other piece of evidence presented in this trial. So in my personal opinion, any other court would surely arrive to an opposite decision in this trial. However, that was not the case today." ZAGREB COUNTY COURT BUILDING ENTRANCE PLAQUE ON COURT BUILDING READING "ZAGREB COUNTY COURT" (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) IVO SANADER'S DEFENCE LAWYER, JADRANKA SLOKOVIC, SAYING: "I believe the Supreme Court will quash this verdict, on the grounds of that during the trial Mr Sanader's rights were violated. I have never seen trial hearings conducted this way before. For example, one hearing was held without the presence of one of the judges, without the defence agreeing to it taking place. That's an essential violation, and however the Supreme Court looks at it, it will have to take that into account." SLOKOVIC AND VALINCIC LEAVING
- Embargoed: 13th January 2020 14:30
- Keywords: Croatia Croatian court ruling Energy Group MOL Energy firm INA Hungary Ivo Sanader MOL CEO Zsolt Hernadi Zagreb bribery corruption former Croatian prime minister
- Location: ZAGREB AND SISAK, CROATIA / SZAZHALOMBATTA, HUNGARY
- City: ZAGREB AND SISAK, CROATIA / SZAZHALOMBATTA, HUNGARY
- Country: Croatia
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA002BC63XVD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Croatian court ruled on Monday (December 30) that the head of Hungarian energy group MOL and Croatia's former prime minister were guilty in a corruption case, opening a new chapter in a legal saga that has dragged on for almost a decade.
MOL's Chief Executive and Chairman, Zsolt Hernadi, was found guilty of bribing former Croatian Prime Minister, Ivo Sanader, in 2008 to allow MOL to become the key decision-maker in Croatian energy firm INA.
MOL is INA's biggest shareholder, owning close to 50% while the Croatian state owns 45%.
Hernadi and Sanader were handed prison sentences of two and six years respectively. The ruling is not final and can be appealed.
The defence lawyers of both men said they were disappointed with the court's verdict and conduct of the trial.
Hernadi and Sanader, who was prime minister from 2003 until 2009, have denied any wrongdoing in the case that was originally launched by Croatia'a anti-corruption agency.
Sanader was initially sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison in 2014 for taking a bribe from MOL, but Croatia's Constitutional Court in 2015 ordered a retrial, citing procedural errors. Hungary has refused to heed an international Interpol arrest warrant for Hernadi.
(Production: Antonio Bronic, Suzana Sabljic, Dominik Starosz)
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