After questioning real estate experts, Zagreb County Court on Tuesday decided that former prime minister Ivo Sanader can be released from prison once a lien is registered on the properties to the value of HRK 12.4 million, presented in a third attempt by Sanader's wife and friends.

The national anti-corruption office USKOK said it will appeal the decision as it believes that one of the properties submitted as a guarantee is illegal while the value of the remaining properties is disputable.

The appeal will be considered by the Supreme Court.

After rejecting properties proposed in two previous attempts of posting bail for Sanader, the court on Tuesday decided that the properties submitted by Sanader's wife and friends were satisfactory as bail and that he could be released.

This, however, does not mean that Sanader will be immediately released from Zagreb's Remetinec prison, where he has been incarcerated since November 2012 when he was initially sentenced in the Hypo and INA-MOL cases and which sentence was later quashed. 

Before that, Sanader was on the run and was arrested in Austria in late 2010 and extradited to Croatia in July 2011. He was released on bail of HRK 12.4 million in December that same year.  

The latest bail in the same amount was set by the Supreme Court on October 1 this year when it quashed the trial court's ruling in the Fimi Media case against Sanader and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party for siphoning funds from state institutions into a party slush fund.

Only after the appeal process is completed and the lien is registered for the properties now offered as bail will Sanader be summonsed to the court where he will be obliged to pledge that he won't flee and that he will report to the relevant judge once a month. 

The supplemented documents for the properties were adopted following the testimony of real estate experts after the original documents were considered to be incomplete for three of the seven properties offered as bail.

Not one of the sentences handed down against the former prime minister are valid at the moment. The Constitutional Court last summer quashed a ruling against Sanader for war profiteering in the Hypo Bank graft case and for taking a bribe from the Hungarian MOL oil company and the entire matter was returned to the Zagreb County Court for a retrial.

He is, however, still facing trial in the Planinska case in which he is accused of taking a HRK 17 million commission after the Ministry of Regional Planning purchased a building in Planinska Street in Zagreb from former HDZ MP Stjepan Fiolic.

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