MOL rejects bribe claims as ex-Croatian PM found guilty of corruption

20 November 2012 12:14  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--MOL continues to categorically reject claims of corruption involving Ivo Sanader after a court sentenced the former Croatian prime minister to a 10-year prison term for taking bribes from it and one other company, the Hungarian oil, gas and petrochemical group said on Tuesday.

A Zagreb county court found Sanader guilty of taking a €10m ($12.8m) bribe between 2008 and 2009 from a “highly positioned” MOL manager in return for arranging the transfer of management rights over state refiner INA to MOL.

Sanader was also found guilty of taking a bribe from Austria’s Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International, in relation to a Croatian government loan, when he served as deputy foreign minister during 1994 and 1995.

MOL said: “We consider this case to be less about the companies that have been named, and more as a political matter within Croatia. We do believe that you cannot convict someone if there is no motive, crime or evidence. Namely, no special reason was necessary for MOL, as the largest single shareholder [in INA] to take over control of a company which needed to be saved from a technical bankruptcy.”

It added: “This is an initial, preliminary ruling; we have many times rejected categorically the accusations made against MOL and we will continue to do so.”

Sanader denied all wrongdoing, claiming the trial was politically motivated.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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