All bribery charges against Patria in Croatian deal dismissed

The Turku Court of Appeal has dismissed all charges of aggravated bribery against the Patria arms company during the sale of armoured vehicles to Croatia in 2007, the company reported on Wednesday.

"The Court of Appeal has overturned the earlier judgement by the District Court and dismissed all bribery charges related to the Croatian export project... the state was ordered to compensate Patria for legal costs and the prolonged trial," Patria said on its web site.

A year ago the Finish Court sentenced Patria's executives Heikki Hulkkonen and Rei Niittynen, who were charged with giving bribes to Croatian officials in connection with an armoured-vehicle deal. The two were sentenced to a suspended sentence of 20 months and Patria was fined 297,000 euros.

"The Court of Appeal's decision was as expected. We consider the decision justified, both judicially and in light of the evidence. Patria has no cause for appealing against the judgment. We will now review the grounds of the decision in detail,” said Patria's Hanna Kyrki, who lodged the appeal.

Croatia purchased 84 armoured vehicles in 2007 valued at 112 million euros and it was agreed with Croatia's Djuro Djakovic company that part of the vehicles would be made in Croatia. The following year a further 42 vehicles were ordereded valued at 68 million euros.

After the judgement last year, the Croatian anti-corruption office - USKOK - said that following a joint investigation conducted by a Finish, Austrian and Croatian team, there was no suspicion raised that any officials in Croatia had received any bribes in the deal with Patria.

Asked at the time whether Finish authorities had any expectations of Croatia, Public Prosecutor Jukka Rappe told Hina that it was up to Croatian authorities to investigate and prosecute any violations committed in its country. 

The Djuro Djakovic company in February last year stated that there was no evidence that the company's director Bartol Jerkovic had accepted any bribe and that they had no knowledge of any proceedings being launched against him in Croatia or Finland.

Last update: Wed, 17/02/2016 - 18:47

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