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Croatia's highest court upholds Hernádi conviction

World

Zsolt Hernádi

The Supreme Court of Croatia has upheld the convictions on charges of graft of Ivo Sanader, Croatia's former prime minister, and Zsolt Hernádi, the chairman-CEO of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, Croatian daily Jutarnji List said on Monday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The court rejected the appeals of Sanader and Hernádi in the combined case and upheld the first-instance ruling sentencing Sanader to six years and Hernádi to two years in prison. The court also rejected a motion filed by Croatia's chief prosecutor for harsher penalties.

Hernádi was charged in absentia with bribing Sanader, while prime minister, a decade earlier to give MOL management rights in Croatian peer INA.

The MOL head was earlier acquitted of the charge by the Hungarian judiciary.

The company holds just under half of INA's shares but exercises management rights in the company. MOL has long been at odds with the Croatian government, the other big stakeholder in INA, over investments at the company. The Croatian government has said it is interested in buying out MOL from INA.

In a statement issued on Monday, MOL voiced disappointment with the court's decision. The company noted that Hungarian authorities as well as an international arbitration court earlier established that neither MOL nor its executives had committed any crime.

Because of "serious injustices" experienced in the course of Croatian procedures, Hernádi will appeal to Croatia's Constitutional Court, MOL said.

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