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MOL chief executive charged with bribery, Croatian paper reports

MOL chief executive Zsolt Hernádi has been charged with bribery by Croatia's chief prosecutor, Croatian daily Večernji reports.

According to the paper, Hernádi is being accused of paying former Croatia prime minister Ivo Sanader €10 million in 2008-2009 as part of a deal to allow MOL to acquire a majority stake in state-owned Croatian oil group INA.

MOL dismissed the report. "No payment or agreement on any payment was ever made, directly or indirectly, neither in the course of INA's privatisation nor thereafter to any actor or decision maker on the Croatian political scene," MOL said in a statement sent to news wire MTI.

MOL said it had no official information on any investigation in the matter.

Sanader was arrested in Austria in December on an international arrest warrant on suspicion of abuse of power and corruption. He is currently in custody waiting to be extradited to Croatia.

The prosecutors said Hernádi and Sanader also made a deal to enable MOL to buy the profitable business of INA, leaving the loss-making units with the state.

Former Croatian vice prime minister Damir Polančec is also implicated in the bribery, the paper said.

The Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) of the Croatian State Attorney's Office (DORH) said in a statement on Tuesday that the names of two new bribery suspects had come up in the procedure against Sanader.

However, the office did not confirm that a probe against Hernádi was underway, as was reported in the local press.