ivan vrdoljak.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Miljenko KLEPAC/ ik

Leader of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and former economy minister Ivan Vrdoljak on Wednesday refuted accusations by former prime minister Ivo Sanader, a witness in the INA-MOL arbitration process, who claimed that the arbitration had been launched to satisfy (Vrdoljak's) private interests.

"Who is Sanader to talk about integrity. This isn't the first time and I think it won't be the last to try and discredit me just because, while defending national interests, I trod on someone's (private interest) toes, who under the guise of patriotism sold our national wealth. Our arbitration was launched to stop us having to pay three billion kuna to MOL, based on a detrimental agreement that Sanader and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led government signed," Vrdoljak told reporters in parliament.

Vrdoljak reacted to a statement by Sanader on Tuesday night for the Nova TV that Vrdoljak "had some other account and some other interests of his own," related to INA.

Sanader refuted charges of receiving a bribe in exchange for enabling MOL to obtain management rights in INA, adding that he had confirmed this to the Arbitration tribunal in London, resenting the fact that the former (Social Democratic Party-led) government had at Vrdoljak's initiative "entered into an exceptionally risky business for Croatia."

In an attempt to counter Sanader's statement, Vrdoljak today underscored that arbitration proceedings launched by the former government had not been based on trials in Croatia such as the one against Sanader for the INA-MOL case but on evidence that the agreements had been concluded illegally and were damaging for Croatia.

"The arbitration proceedings are not the problem in INA, but the situation in that company which because MOL has not fulfilled its obligations, have brought the company to a state in which people are being fired, wages are being decreased and the production of oil and gas is declining. That way MOL will achieve its goal of transforming INA into its retail network in Croatia," he said.

That is why it is the government's duty to actively participate in INA and not to impact public opinion with its statements, he said, "because if they (the current government) do not do something, that could be interpreted as a crime."

 "Let them be patriots, let them defend national interests when it comes to INA," Vrdoljak said.

Latest news

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for "The Truth" with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.

Trump blasts Mexico as top diplomat holds talks in Mexico City

US President Donald Trump expressed ambivalence about the US relationship with Mexico as he blasted the country Thursday for what he claims is an unfair trade relationship.

Croat accused of rioting at UEFA 2016 game goes on trial

The trial of Ivan Vucenovic, 21, accused of causing rioting during a European soccer championship match between Croatia and the Czech Republic in Saint Etienne, France last June, began at the Sibenik Municipal Court on Thursday.

Schools blocked, 26 arrests in Paris protests against police abuses

Hundreds of young people took to the streets of Paris on Thursday in protests against alleged police brutality, with local media reporting that 16 secondary schools were forced to shut.

Aid agency: 13 dead among dozens trapped in Libya container

The bodies of 13 migrants were found along with dozens of survivors trapped inside a transport container in Libya's western town of Khoms, an aid agency said Thursday.

Strike grounds hundreds of Alitalia flights

Employees of loss-making Italian airline Alitalia walked off the job Thursday after government-mediated talks failed to break the deadlock, causing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights.

Bosnia requests review of ICJ judgement that exonerating Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina's legal counsel Sakib Softic on Thursday submitted a request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, for a review of a judgement in the genocide suit against Serbia.

Frljic: Warsaw play big hit, ascribes criticism to conservative repression

The media have reported that Polish prosecutors on Wednesday began investigating Frljic's play, which the Catholic Church and the conservative community in Poland have called "blasphemous".