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Croatian Economy Chief Convicted in Fatal Hungary Car Crash

June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Croatian Economy Minister Radimir Cacic was convicted in Hungary on charges related to a fatal traffic accident and received a suspended sentence.

Judge Krisztina Kostyak found Cacic, 63,guilty of speeding and causing an accident on a Hungarian highway in January 2010 that killed two people. Attila Vadocz, a spokesman for the court in Kaposvar, Hungary said the 22-month jail sentence was suspended for three years. His driving license was also suspended for the same period, Vadocz said. Cacic said he accepts the verdict.

“Although we may never find out what exactly happened that day, one must not put other people on the road in jeopardy,” Kostyak told the court, according to Croatia’s Nova TV. Cacic caused the accident by not maintaining sufficient distance between his vehicle and the vehicle in front of him, Nova TV reported Kostyak as saying.

Cacic has sought to attract foreign investment, which Croatia needs to recover after two years of recession and a period of stagnation in 2011. The Adriatic Sea nation is set to become the European Union’s 28th member in July 2013.

Cacic heads the Croatian People’s Party, the second-most influential party in the six-month-old ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s Social-Democrats.

Milanovic said earlier this week it would be up to Cacic to decide whether he would stay in the government, following the verdict. Cacic had said he would leave his post if the sentence includes physical jail time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

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

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