Party of outgoing Croatian premier charged with corruption
Dec 9, 2011, 15:10 GMT
Zagreb/Belgrade - Croatian prosecutors on Friday brought corruption charges against the Democratic Union (HDZ) party of outgoing premier Jadranka Kosor.
HDZ suffered a catastrophic defeat in elections on Sunday, largely owing to a series of corruption scandals involving its former leader and premier, Ivo Sanader.
Sanader, who is already on trial for several counts of corruption, leads the list of 11 recipients of the new indictments. It is the first time that HDZ is charged as a legal entity.
According to the indictment, the defendants sifted around 100 million kunas (18 million dollars) from state-owned companies through services of a marketing company under Sanader's control.
The money was channeled to private accounts and HDZ slush funds, according to the indictment.
Sanader has been on trial since early November. He is accused of pocketing money from state credit and privatization deals involving the Austrian Hypo Bank and the Hungarian petrol company MOL.
It was not immediately clear whether the new set of charges could complicate Sanader's release on a 12.4-million kuna bail, which had been expected to take place on Friday.
His lawyers have appealed against the amount set for the bail and against a travel ban, the 24Sata daily said.
Proceedings against Sanader and people from his inner circle were kickstarted by Kosor after he resigned, in 2009, following pressure from the European Union to crack down on top-level corruption.
Croatia was rewarded earlier on Friday, when Kosor signed the documents allowing it to join the EU on July 1, 2013.