The retrial of the corruption case against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader resumed on Monday at Zagreb's County Court after a break in proceedings lasting more than six weeks.
The former HDZ prime minister stands accused of accepting a 10 million euro bribe in exchange for ceding management rights of Croatia's INA oil and gas company to Hungary's MOL back in 2008.
Robert Ježić, the key witness for the prosecution, stood by his earlier claim that 5 million euros of the bribe supposedly paid to Ivo Sanader are currently sitting in the bank account of his company in Switzerland.
Ježić told the court that in early 2009 Sanader had told him he was expecting a 10 million euro payment from MOL, and that he wanted Ježić to figure out how to use his company to receive the money. Ježić then stated he had seen MOL's Chief Executive Zsolt Hernadi leaving Sanader's office at the government in May, and was told by Sanader that one payment would be made immediately and a second by the end of the year.
"The second part of our arrangement was that the money would stay with the company's and be used by it as necessary. Then, after an agreed period of a year to a year-and-a-half, the money would be paid back out in the form of dividends," said Ježić.
It was only after Sanader was no longer prime minister and media speculation regarding the bribe began to surface that Ježić understood his role in the affair and subsequently refused to receive the second 5 million euro payment.
Sanader was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison in the case in 2014.