Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

MOL CEO sentenced in Zagreb

January 1st, 2020

An independent conservative fact-finding journalist accuses the Croatian justice system of condemning the CEO of the Hungarian Oil and Gas multinational on trumped up charges.

On Monday, the first instance court in Zagreb sentenced former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to 6 years in jail for accepting bribes from MOL CEO Zsolt Hernádi, In exchange, the judge ruled, for the management rights of  INA, the Croatian national petroleum company of which MOL was a major shareholder. Hernádi was condemned to two years in prison, in his absence. A similar sentence, passed earlier by the court, was overturned by the Constitutional Court in Zagreb as unproven. The International Court of Arbitration also rejected the Croatian charges against the MOL CEO in a unanimous ruling, after the Croatian government turned to them for an opinion.

Válasz’s András Bódis has followed the case since its inception 10 years ago and wrote a long article in 2011, showing that the money supposedly destined for Sanader actually came from Russian sources, at a time when the Russian gas giant Gazprom attempted to replace MOL as the company running INA (See BudaPost, December 3, 2011). Bódis repeats his findings of eight years ago, and sums up recent reactions to the case. He does not exclude the possibility that bribe money “may be paid in deals between big international companies”, but finds no proof to support the charge that the five million dollars transferred by a Russian oil tycoon to a Croatian businessman were destined to reach Prime Minister Sanader. The money never reached him and was transferred six months after MOL took over the management rights of INA, he writes. He mentions that the Croatian businessman was already under investigation for multiple wrongdoing and his testimony against the MOL CEO may be part of a plea bargain. After his testimony, he was in fact released from jail in 2011. Unfortunately, Bódis writes, the case proves that “there can be a member country within the European Union where sentences are handed down without evidence.”

Tags: , ,