Former Prime Minister Sanader Sentenced to 4.5 Years in Prison

Total Croatia News

This is one of several court proceedings against Ivo Sanader.

On Friday, former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader was sentenced, after a four-year trial, to four and a half years in prison for receiving 17 million kuna in 2009 after the Ministry of Regional Development bought a building in Planinska Street in Zagreb from a company owned by former HDZ’s MP Stjepan Fiolić, reports Telegram on April 7, 2017.

Since the sentence is shorter than five years, Sanader will not go to prison until the verdict becomes final.

Fiolić admitted to the court that he brought the money to Sanader’s home after the sale and was sentenced to one year in prison, which can be replaced with community service. The same sentence was given to owner of an engineering bureau Mladen Mlinarević, who exaggerated the value of the building before Fiolić sold it.

The former Prime Minister has rejected the accusations from the beginning. One of witnesses against Sanader was Petar Čobanković, at the time the Minister of Regional Development. After a plea agreement with the prosecution, Čobanković was sentenced to one year in prison, but instead of going to prison he worked in a soup kitchen.

Sanader says that in April 2009 he did not take part in a closed session of the government where the decision to purchase the building was adopted. He said that the proposal was probably included in the agenda of the session by Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. He also said that Čobanković had a deal with the prosecution in return for a lighter sentence.

Up to now Sanader, who is facing a number of corruption charges, has not had a single final or preliminary verdict against himself, since the Constitutional Court in summer of 2015 overturned the verdict for war profiteering in another case and returned it to retrial. Sanader was first arrested in late 2010, and has been in and out of remand prison several times since.

Reacting to the latest events, Sanader said on Friday that the verdict was based on false testimony of persons who had received benefits in order to testify against him. “We have already seen that with Čobanković, and now we see it with Fiolić,” said Sanader. “We will appeal the verdict and I am confident that our evidence and facts that we have presented will have more weight than what Fiolić says,” he added.

His lawyer Čedo Prodanović said that the verdict “is not too surprising because before this court Sanader obviously had no chance.” “Fortunately, there is a higher court,” he added.

Prosecutor Tonči Petković said he was satisfied with the verdict, but not with the sentence.


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