Ivo Sanader, a former Croatian Prime Minister has been handed an 8-year jail sentence after being found guilty of siphoning millions of euros from public funds in a long-running corruption case.
Sanader who has however denied corruption charges in the case and is expected to appeal his conviction to a higher court, was found guilty of creating slush funds for his conservative HDZ party by taking money from public companies via a marketing agency.
The former prime minister who is currently serving a prison sentence for another corruption case and will also be required to pay 15.8 million kunas (two million euros, $2.5 million) once the verdict becomes final, directed embezzlement involving illegal donations and fictitious deals involving state-run firms, according to the verdict.
His former HDZ party, which is now in power was fined 3.5 million kuna ($547,071.60) by the court and must also return some 14 million kuna of illegally obtained funds.
The party which has also rejected the trial which led to the conviction and jailing of two of its officials and acquittal of one, said it will appeal the ruling.
Sanader is serving a separate prison term after being convicted of taking a bribe in 2008 while arranging for a building belonging to a party colleague to be sold to a ministry at a price higher than its market value.
He was also convicted of accepting a bribe from Hungary’s oil group MOL in 2008 in exchange for letting it become a dominant shareholder in Croatian energy firm INA and for taking a bribe from Austria’s then-Hypo Alpe Adria Bank in the early 1990s. Sanader has denied charges in both cases and appealed to higher courts.