ZAGREB, Nov 13, 2020 – Former PM and HDZ leader Ivo Sanader has been sentenced to 8 years in prison in the Fimi Media case, former HDZ treasurer Mladen Barisic and accountant Branka Pavosevic have also been sentenced to prison, while the HDZ has been fined HRK 3.5 million and ordered to pay HRK 14.6 million into the state budget.
Sanader and his co-defendants were charged with siphoning around HRK 70 million (€9.3 million) from state-owned companies and institutions through the Fimi Media marketing agency.
The HDZ party, into whose slush fund some of the siphoned money had allegedly ended up, was found “responsible”.
Under the verdict delivered on Friday by Zagreb County Court following a retrial in this case, Barisic was sentenced pending appeal to two years and 10 months in prison while Pavosevic was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Former government and HDZ spokesman Ratko Macek, who was given a suspended sentence in the initial trial, has been acquitted.
The court ruled that Sanader had illegally gained HRK 275,000, ordering that, if the ruling becomes final, the court confiscate the HRK 15.8 million the origin of which Sanader’s family failed to explain.
If the verdict becomes final, HRK 11.9 million will be seized from the Fimi Media marketing agency. As for its owner, Nevenka Jurak, who died during the retrial, the court established that she had illegally gained slightly more than HRK 2.5 million.
Some of the money which the HDZ party, as the first political party in the country sentenced for corruption, will have to return, has already been blocked.
The retrial in the case started in 2016, a year after the Supreme Court quashed a sentencing verdict handed down in 2013 by Judge Ivana Krsul.
In the first trial, Sanader was sentenced to nine years and ordered to return over HRK 15 million in illegal gains, while the HDZ was ordered to return more than HRK 24 million and fined HRK 5 million.
In the first trial, Barisic, Pavosevic and Jurak were given milder prison sentences and ordered to return the money. Unlike then, in the retrial they pleaded not guilty. Macek and Sanader were the only ones denying the charges from the start. In the first trial, Macek was given a suspended sentence.
Sanader has been in prison since 2019, serving a sentence in the Planinska corruption case. In the meantime, he has been sentenced pending appeal for taking a bribe from the Hungarian energy group MOL and, in 2018, for taking a kickback from the Austrian Hypo bank. He has been acquitted pending appeal for the sale of electricity from the HEP provider to a company owned by Rober Jezic at prices below the market price.