Sanader in Prison, Sentenced to More Than Five Years

By 4 April 2019

ZAGREB, April 4, 2019 - The Zagreb County Court on Thursday confirmed that it had issued a warrant to take former prime minister and HDZ party leader Ivo Sanader into custody after the Supreme Court increased his sentence in a case dubbed "Planinska" to more than five years.

"We have received the Supreme Court's decision to set investigative custody for Sanader because his sentence lasts more than five years, in which case mandatory investigative detention is set," said County Court spokesman Kresimir Devčić.

He added that following the Supreme Court's ruling, the Zagreb County Court issued a warrant for police to take Sanader into custody.

This means that police will look for Sanader at his address, in Zagreb's Kozarčeva Street, and that, if he is not found there, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Devčić said that the Supreme Court decision did not specify the duration of sentence, only that it was longer than five years.

The Supreme Court on Thursday completed its three-day deliberation on appeals against the trial court ruling in this case, in which Sanader was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for taking a kickback in the amount of 10 million kuna and one million euros and defrauding the state budget in the amount of 15 million kuna.

According to unofficial information, the Supreme Court has increased his sentence to six years.

Apart from the former prime minister, the trial chamber in this case also convicted Mladen Mlinarević, for whom it established that he inflated the value of a building in Zagreb's Planinska Street owned by former HDZ MP and businessman Stjepan Fiolić, from whom the regional development ministry, led by former minister Petar Čobanković, purchased the property in 2009.

Čobanković made a plea bargain with the prosecution before the trial and was sentenced to one year in prison. He did not go to prison but did community service.

Mlinarević and Fiolić were each sentenced to one year's conditional imprisonment, which was later replaced with community service.

Fiolić admitted that he helped Sanader with the sale of the property based on a forged appraisal and that he brought 10 million kuna and another one million euros (approx. 17 million kuna in total) to Sanader's home in a cardboard box.

Sanader was ordered to give back the 17 million kuna while the 15 million kuna difference between the actual and the appraised value of the property in question was to be compensated jointly by Sanader and Fiolić and his two companies. Fiolić's companies were fined 120,000 kuna.

The former prime minister rejected the accusations, saying that investigators had blackmailed his co-accused. Mlinarević, too, denied the charges.

The trial in the Planinska case lasted from April 2013 to April 2018 and was frequently adjourned due to Sanader's health condition.

Sanader had a series of corruption indictments issued against him.

He was released from custody after the Constitutional Court in 2015 quashed a sentence against him for war profiteering in the Hypo case and for taking a bribe from the Hungarian energy group MOL, ordering a retrial at the Zagreb County Court.

The Supreme Court then quashed a non-final verdict and ordered a retrial in the Fimi Media case in which Sanader and his former party, the HDZ, were convicted for corruption. These proceedings are still underway.

In October 2018, Sanader was sentenced pending appeal to two and half years in prison in the Hypo case and was acquitted of the charges in the HEP-Dioki trial, pending appeal.

Sanader was arrested at his home shortly after 5 pm.

More news about Ivo Sanader can be found in the Politics section.