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Croatian Ruling Party, Former Premier Sanader Indicted for Graft

The ruling Croatian Democratic Union, which lost elections to an opposition bloc on Dec. 4, joined former Premier Ivo Sanader in being indicted on charges of corruption, abuse of office, and conspiracy to commit crime.

The ruling party, Sanader and six other party officials were charged for siphoning money from state companies and using these illegal funds for the party’s and personal needs, the Public Prosecutor said today in a statement on its website. The Croatian Democratic Union is accused of illegally gaining 31.6 million-kuna ($5.6 million), while Sanader illegally gained 15 million kuna, according to prosecutors.

This is the third indictment for Sanader, who is standing trial for suspicion of corruption in cases involving Hungary’s Mol Nyrt. and Austria’s Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG.

The ruling party’s lawyer, Vladimir Gredelj, said on Dec. 6 he had resigned as their legal representative “due to irreconcilable views on the use of so-called black funds.” Gredelj was speaking at a press conference.

Calls to the cell phone of Sanader’s main lawyer Cedo Prodanovic were not immediately returned as were phone calls to ruling party spokeswoman Suncana Glavak.

The Croatian Democratic Union ruled Croatia for 17 out of 21 years since the country’s independence. It lost elections earlier this week to an opposition bloc led by Social Democrats. Sanader was elected premier in 2003 and 2007, and left office in July 2009 without explanation. He was arrested in Austria last year on an international arrest warrant and extradited to Croatia in July.

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