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Hungary Probes Alleged Bribery Involving Mol and Its Croatia Arm

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Hungarian authorities are investigating allegations of bribery involving Mol Nyrt., the country’s largest refiner, and INA Industrija Nafte d.d., its Croatian subsidiary, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said.

“No suspect has been named,” Gabor Nagy Szeplaki, a spokesman at the prosecutor’s office, told Bloomberg News in a phone interview today.

Hungary began the inquiry after Croatia requested legal help in July in connection with the case, Szeplaki said. He declined to comment on how long the probe might take.

Poslovni Dnevnik, a Croatian newspaper, said last week that Hungarian prosecutors were investigating Mol Chairman Zsolt Hernadi over allegations that he bribed former Croatian premier Ivo Sanader to win control of INA. The newspaper cited Gabor Ivan, Hungary’s ambassador to Croatia, as its informant.

Sanader, who is being held on suspicion of corruption and abuse of power in several cases, protested his innocence last month during a prison interrogation by Croatia’s Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime, Croatian newswire Hina reported on Aug. 30.

Mol, which secured management rights at INA in a 2009 contract with the Croatian government, owns 47.47 percent of the refiner, with an option to buy another 1.6 percent. The government owns 44.84 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edith Balazs in Budapest at ebalazs1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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