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Croatian Court Will Merge Two Cases Against Ex-Premier Sanader

Croatian prosecutors will fold separate bribery cases against former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, now standing trial on charges involving Austria’s Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG, into a single case.

The district court in the capital Zagreb will restart its Austrian case against Sanader, already two weeks old, to include additional accusations surrounding refiner INA Industrija Nafte d.d., it said today in a statement on its website.

Sanader is accused of taking a bribe of 10 million euros ($13.6 million) from Hungary’s largest refiner Mol Nyrt. between 2008 to 2009, when he was premier. In exchange, he arranged with a “highly positioned” Mol manager to give it controlling rights over INA in a January 2009 shareholding agreement, according to the prosecutor’s office. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Sanader has also been indicted for taking a bribe of 3.6 million kuna ($690,000) from the Austrian bank between 1994 to 1995, when he was deputy foreign minister. In exchange, the Croatian government at the time took a loan of 140 million Austrian schillings ($14 million), the Alpine nation’s currency at the time, from Hypo bank, the Prosecutor General said on Aug. 31.

The Croatian government on Oct. 27 asked the prosecutor general to “take all necessary measures” to protect its ownership and management rights in INA until the verdict is reached in Sanader’s case.

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