Croatia's former prime minister Ivo Sanader sits in the courtroom prior to the reading of his verdict, in Zagreb, Croatia, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Sanader was sentenced Monday for two and a half years in prison for war profiteering. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Ex-PM of Croatia gets 2 ½ years for war profiteering

October 22, 2018 - 10:19 am

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — A Croatian court on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to 2 ½ years in prison for war profiteering following his retrial in the high-profile corruption case.

The County Court of Zagreb, the capital, ruled that Sanader also must return about half a million euros ($570,000) in kickbacks he took in a deal with Austria's Hypo Bank in the 1990s.

The court said Sanader, who was deputy foreign minister at the time, was guilty of war profiteering because he acted for own benefit rather than Croatia's during its 1992-95 war.

Sanader went on to serve as prime minister from 2003 to 2009. He is the highest-ranking official tried for corruption in Croatia.

Monday's sentence was shorter than the three years Sanader received previously. Sanader's lawyers said they would appeal.

"We believe that the verdict is absolutely baseless," lawyer Cedo Prodanovic said.

Croatian state TV says Sanader was acquitted Monday in a separate corruption case. Altogether, prosecutors had filed five corruption cases against Sanader since 2010.

The ex-prime minister was the leader of the ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union party.

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