Croat police arrest 5, probe graft at state bank HPB

Croatian police said on Wednesday they had arrested five people suspected of criminal offences related to risk management at state-owned bank Hrvatska Postanka Banka.

Croat police arrest 5, probe graft at state bank HPB

Croatian police said on Wednesday they had arrested five people suspected of criminal offences related to risk management at state-owned bank Hrvatska Postanka Banka (HPB).

"Following a request from the special anti-corruption office USKOK, police have started a criminal investigation against seven people who are under suspicion for improper risk management," police said in a statement.

Two of the seven were abroad, police said. Among those under investigation are former HPB managers and four people who have borrowed from the bank.

Croatia, a European Union candidate which hopes to complete entry talks next year and join in 2012, has stepped up its fight against corruption since Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor took over after Ivo Sanader's sudden and unexplained departure in July.

Fighting corruption and organised crime is a key condition of successful completion of accession talks.

HPB is the biggest state-owned commercial bank, but its market share is relatively small at about four percent. The government appointed new management last summer to address the bank's poor business results and risky lending.

The central bank warned the former management that the bank needed to improve its capital adequacy. In recent months there were talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development about becoming a shareholder in HPB, but the outcome of those talks is still pending.


Reuters

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2009, 14:09
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