Tuesday, 31. March 2015 - 08:03
10. 12. 10. - 17:00
The Ministry of Interior (MUP) has issued a warrant for the arrest of former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader on suspicion of involvement in the Fimi-Media fraud and several other affairs.
According to the Croatian daily Jutarnji List, almost four million Euros taken from public firms and state institutions ended up in the hands of the former PM. Fimi-Media had been the "go to" firm for numerous state companies and institutions dealing with public relations work. Many of these jobs had been handed over to the PR firm through rigged public bidding. A lot of the firm’s profits then went back into the hands of officials who used the money for funding the Croatian Democratic Union’s (HDZ) election campaign, amongst other things.
Various suspects incriminated in the affair spoke of the government meeting in April 2007 during which Sanader recommended working with Fimi-Media. HDZ treasurer Mladen Barisic – a personal friend of Fimi Media’s owner, Nevenka Jurak – also supported this collaboration.
In her testimony, Jurak said that she had given 35 million kunas (4.74 million Euros) to Barisic, who then handed over a large part of the money to Sanader.
The daily writes that charges specify that Sanader must have kept the money for himself or spent it on pieces of art and other collectibles. He is also alleged to have used part of the money for campaign financing, including purchasing a news outlet in Zadar.
Added to the charges are further accusations of abusing his position and power in securing cheap electricity for Robert Jezic’s company Dioki Group. In USKOK’s indictment Sanader is named together with the Jezic and two former state electrical company HEP’s officials, Ivan Mravak and Ivan Mrljak.
Mravak is said to have additionally lowered the price of electricity in 2008 and 2009 for Jezic’s firms without consulting HEP’s board, causing HEP 6.3 milion kunas (853,000 Euros) worth of damages.
In 2009, the company approved a 15 million kunas credit for Jezic, postponing the deadline for paying it back several times.
In his defence, Mravak said that he acted according to Sanader’s instructions.
Sanader is also implicated in the procurement of cheap electricity for another company, Sibenik TLM, or Aluminijum Mostar. With these actions, HEP suffered damages totalling 600 million kunas (81 million Euros).
The Croatian Parliament received a request from the State Attorney’s Office yesterday (Thu) to strip Sanader of his parliamentary immunity. The former PM has since left Croatia, but has contacted one of the local newspapers in a text message, announcing his intention to return and face USKOK’s charges. An international warrant against the PM could be issued based on the court’s detention request.
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