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Croatia jails former PM Sanader, ruling party ordered to pay $547,000 and return $2.1 million

Christian Fernsby |
Former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader was sentenced on Friday to eight years in prison for creating slush funds for his HDZ party by taking money from public companies via a marketing agency.

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The presiding judge ruled Sanader had organised a group of people for criminal activity and covering up illegal financial deals, state television reported

His former HDZ party, which is now in power, was fined 3.5 million kuna ($547,071.60) by the court and must also return some 14 million kuna ($2.1 million) of illegally obtained funds.

Sanader is serving a separate prison term after being convicted of taking a bribe in 2008 while arranging for a building belonging to a party colleague to be sold to a ministry at a price higher than its market value.

He was also convicted of accepting a bribe from Hungary’s oil group MOL in 2008 in exchange for letting it become a dominant shareholder in Croatian energy firm INA and for taking a bribe from Austria’s then-Hypo Alpe Adria Bank in the early 1990s.

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