Croatia acquits official in selloff graft trial

Zagreb county court rejected charges that Ivan Gotovac received bribes to facilitate the sale of a wine producer and a hotel.

Croatia acquits official in selloff graft trial
The former vice-president of Croatia's state privatisation fund (HFP) was acquitted on Tuesday of taking bribes and abusing authority in the sale of state assets.

At the end of one of the highest-profile corruption trials to date, Zagreb county court rejected charges that Ivan Gotovac, arrested in 2007 together with two other HFP vice-presidents, received bribes to facilitate the sale of a wine producer and a hotel, state news agency Hina reported.

The court also acquitted a businessman accused of bribing officials to buy those assets. A separate trial of the two other HFP vice-presidents is still ongoing.

A more resolute fight against organised crime and corruption is one of the key requirements for Zagreb to complete its European Union entry talks this year.

Croatia stepped up anti-graft efforts in the last two years, but few trials have been completed and even fewer people convicted. Reforming the slow and inefficient judiciary is also a major requirement for Croatia's EU entry.

In other high-profile corruption cases, Croatia last year arrested a dozen university professors charged with taking bribes from students for passing exams. It also jailed several people for corruption in the healthcare system.

Reuters
Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2009, 16:09
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