A re-trial against former prime minister Ivo Sanader, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and others in the Fimi Media graft case will continue in the autumn while the hearing scheduled for Tuesday was once again cancelled.

The trial has been adjourned so that a new defence counsel, Jasna Novak, who is defending former HDZ cashier Branka Pavosevic, can have time to study the case after Pavosevic's former counsel Davor Cahun left.

Judge Irena Kvaternik has scheduled the next hearing for September 6.

In addition to Sanader, the HDZ and Branka Pavosevic, the HDZ's former treasurer Mladen Barisic and the owner of the Fimi Media marketing company, Nevenka Jurak, are also being tried in this case as is the former spokesman in Sanader's government, Ratko Macek.

At the start of the re-trial all the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges of siphoning more than 70 million kuna from state-owned companies and institutions through Fima Media.

The re-trial started in early June before a new Zagreb County Court trial chamber after the Supreme Court overturned a non-final ruling last year which had sentenced Sanader to nine years' imprisonment and ordered him to repay unlawfully gained monies in the amount of HRK 15.27 million.

In the original trial the HDZ was fined five million kuna and stripped of unlawfully gained monies in the amount of HRK 24.2 million. Despite pleading guilty, Barisic was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, Pavosevic to one and a half years and Nevenka Jurak to two years in jail and the confiscation of HRK 2.5 million. Macek was put on probation and is the only accused not to have appealed the ruling.

In the appeals proceedings, the Supreme Court concluded that Sanader was not able to question all the witnesses he planned to nor the other accused who had pleaded guilty and who, after presenting their defence which seriously incriminated Sanader, did not wish to respond to any of his or his defence counsel's questions.

The Supreme Court also sustained the claim by the defence counsel for the HDZ, the first political party to be charged with corruption, that the trial did not help clear up what Sanader committed as an official and what as an authorised person.

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