Finance Minister Zdravko Marić today declined to comment on media reports that Hungarian oil group MOL is seeking damages from Croatia in the amount of 6.5 billion Kuna, roughly 878 million Euros.
Hungary and Croatia are at odds over the INA oil and gas company, which Croatia privatized in 2003, with MOL buying into INA's ownership. MOL was subsequently allowed to obtain a slightly larger stake in INA than the Croatian Government and is alleged to have secured management rights in the company by bribing former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.
The Hungarian suit is based on claims that Croatia has not met its obligations with regard to divesting INA's gas business from its core business. Government issued a statement today saying that the arbitration proceeding was still underway and that it is waiting for a final decision before making any comments on the case. The statement did, however, note very clearly that MOL has not suffered any damages in the process, but rather the Republic of Croatia has suffered serious financial damages as a result of corrupt contracts paid for by MOL.