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MOL CEO likely to be cleared of Croatian charges

December 3rd, 2011

Magyar Nemzet believes the corruption charges against the CEO of Hungary’s oil giant were part of the Croatian election campaign and will be dropped soon after the elections.

“Now that Heti Válasz has published its fact-finding article, it is clear that what we have seen was an unscrupulous political game” – Csaba Erdősi writes in Magyar Nemzet.

As Budapost reported earlier this year, Croatian authorities accused former right-wing prime minister Ivo Sanader of having accepted a 10 million Euro bribe for ceding the management rights of his country’s oil company, INA to MOL, the Hungarian oil multinational, which owns 49 per cent of INA’s shares. According to a witness the money came from a Cypriot off shore company.

Now András Bódis, Heti Válasz’s investigative reporter has discovered that the Cypriot company in question is in the hands of the Russian gas giant Gazprom. And since Gazprom is a competitor of  MOL, Heti Válasz believes that the charges against MOL’s Chief Executive Officer Zsolt Hernádi have crumbled.

Magyar Nemzet’s commentator remarks that before MOL took over the management of INA, the Croatian oil company was in pitiful shape and could not even meet its tax obligations. He thinks the corruption charges were invented by the (Croatian) Socialists in order to defeat the now governing Conservatives, who added this item to the list of charges levelled against their former leader, in order to further distance themselves from him. The Socialists appear almost certain to win the forthcoming elections, and their probable candidate for the post of Minister of the Economy, Radimir  Čačić is quoted as saying that “rather than concentrating on corruption charges, the new government will have to regard INA as a joint Hungarian-Croatian enterprise.” Erdősi thinks this is an encouraging sign and hopes that after next Sunday’s elections the political atmosphere towards MOL will change in Croatia.

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