ivo sanader.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ / mm

Former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said on Tuesday that he testified recently at the UN Commission on International Trade Law in London in the proceedings between Croatia and Hungarian energy company MOL at the invitation of the president of the arbitration and that he was not MOL's witness.

Speaking on Nova TV, Sanader said he answered questions from the Council and Croatian and MOL representatives, telling them there had been no bribe, as he had already said in Croatia, where a court is trying him for taking a bribe from MOL in exchange of management rights in Croatian oil company INA.

"I told everyone the same. There's no bribe. I didn't take a five million bribe and Robert Jezic is simply lying. He committed before a Croatian court, before the Croatian public, before every camera, that he would return those five million euros in September 2012. Now it's April 2016 and that still hasn't been paid. But in the meantime, because of that statement by Jezic, I sat four years in jail and international arbitration is going on. What the (previous) Milanovic cabinet, at the initiative of Ivan Vrdoljak, the then (economy) minister, did was an extremely risky deal for Croatia," Sanader said.

"I spoke about all I know, the beginning of INA's privatisation and my political persecution and the role of (former) state attorney Mladen Bajic in the political persecution, who turned out to be a yes-man of then Prime Minister (Jadranka) Kosor who, through that political prosecution of me, wanted to eliminate me as a returnee to the political scene," Sanader said.

He said his government inherited the previous government's agreement with MOL and that MOL had been a strategic partner to all previous governments.

Speaking of the arbitration, Sanader said the Milanovic cabinet, at Vrdoljak's proposal, started the proceedings based on a non-final court verdict and that this was "an extremely risky deal for Croatia."

Asked to comment on Vrdoljak's statement that Sanader was a false patriot, Sanader said that judging by it, he would be a patriot only if he admitted to taking MOL's bribe for management rights in INA and went back to prison.

He said Vrdoljak has his own interests. Asked which, he said, "probably some private interests about which we will talk when the time comes."

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