Croatia steps up demands for MOL on INA management
Croatia stepped up its demands for changes to the way INA is managed after the country's former premier Ivo Sanader was jailed for 10 years for taking bribes from Hungarian energy group MOL, the joint owner of Croatia's former state oil and gas company, newswires report.
Croatian Finance Minister Slavko Linic said the shareholder agreement with MOL, which owns almost 50% of INA and the state the remainder, should be renegotiated as soon as possible. "I believe the new circumstances related to the verdict could help MOL understand we will insist on changes and that there is no reason to lose time waiting for the final ruling," Linic told the state radio. "The talks with MOL are going on. They are not easy and are taking a considerable time. Regardless of the verdict against Sanader, the government is not happy with the (shareholders) agreement."
Sanader was found by the court November 20 to have accepted a €5m bribe from MOL in 2008 in return for full management rights in INA. The Hungarian company has been fighting a bitter war with Zagreb for control of the company for years as Ina - and more specifically its crude oil ports on the Adriatic - is key to MOL's bid to become a truly regional power.
Following the Sanader ruling, MOL refused to accept all of the court's findings, saying the Sanader trial had produced no evidence of wrongdoing and had delivered "factually incorrect comments" about INA and MOL. "We would query whether the procedures followed - with regard to the claims made against MOL - would be considered compatible with established legal procedures elsewhere in Europe," the Hungarian firm said in a statement.