[QODLink]
Europe
Fraud trial of Croatia's former PM postponed
Judge reschedules trial for next week after Ivo Sanader complains of heart problems minutes after hearing begins.
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:11
Ivo Sanader, centre, has denied charges of receiving kickbacks from an Austrian bank [AFP]

A court in the Croatian capital of Zagreb has postponed the corruption trial of a former prime minister, citing health reasons.

The judge scheduled a new court hearing for November 3 after Ivo Sanader, who was premier for six years before quitting abruptly in 2009, complained of heart problems and high blood pressure just 40 minutes into Friday's trial.

Sanader, 58, faces charges of receiving kickbacks from an Austrian bank during his time as deputy foreign minister in the 1990s. He has denied the charges.

Dressed casually and looking frail, Sanader apologised to the judge for not wearing a suit, saying he believed he was being taken from his prison cell to see a doctor.

"I am sorry I came here dressed like this. I was told I was going to the hospital," he said as he took the seat in the courtroom.

"I feel symptoms of high blood pressure, just as I have over the past few weeks. I feel pressure in my chest."

He was taken to hospital for checkups after the court hearing.

EU scrutiny

Sanader is accused of taking an estimated $695,000 for a credit deal with Hypo Alpe Adria Group in 1994 that allowed the Austrian bank entry into the Croatian market.

The charges say Croatia was at war for independence from Yugoslavia at the time and that Sanader "used the difficult position of the country to gain personal financial profit".

He was extradited to Croatia from Austria in July to face several separate charges of corruption, including allegedly taking a $14m bribe to secure the Hungarian energy company MOL a dominant position in Croatia's market.

Sanader's trial comes only a month before Croatia's parliamentary elections. 

The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which he once headed, also faces an investigation by the country's anti-fraud authorities for illegal financing.

Croatia, which has been under the European Union's scrutiny for widespread corruption, is set to become the bloc's 28th member in 2013.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list