Osijek, Croatia, June 10 (MTI) – Charges of bribery and organised crime against Hungarian oil and gas company MOL chief Zsolt Hernadi, as pressed by Croatian anti-graft authorities, have been proven substantive, the Zagreb country court said on Tuesday.
Croatia’s anti-corruption prosecutor’s office USKOK raised charges against Hernadi in March under suspicion that he had bribed former Croatian PM Ivo Sanader with 10 million euros to obtain a majority stake in MOL’s Croatian counterpart INA.
The Zagreb court also upheld USKOK’s request that Hernadi be placed under detention and that court hearings take place in absentia.
Hernady’s legal representative said the Zagreb court has taken a formal, rather than substantive, decision.
Peter Zamecsnik told MTI on Tuesday that the Croatian court has decided that the charges comply with the requirements of Croatian law, and that the procedure can be conducted in absentia. The suspension of Interpol’s arrest warrant against Hernadi continues to be in effect, he added.
The solicitor said that if the first-instance ruling adopted earlier by a Hungarian court becomes non-appealable, it will have binding effect in Croatia as well, according to fundamental legal principles. The final ruling is expected in the autumn earliest.
The Budapest Municipal Court on May 26 dropped a case against Hernadi concerning international bribery and causing loss to shareholders in a first-instance ruling.