[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
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
join our mailing list