Ex-PM of Croatia gets 2 ½ years for war profiteering

Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader was found guilty of war profiteering during the 1992-95 war. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2018

Ex-PM of Croatia gets 2 ½ years for war profiteering

  • The County Court of Zagreb ruled that Sanader also must return about half a million euros ($570,000) in kickbacks he took in a deal with Austria’s Hypo Bank in the 1990s
  • The court said Sanader, who was deputy foreign minister at the time, was guilty of war profiteering because he acted for his own benefit rather than Croatia’s during its 1992-95 war

ZAGREB, Croatia: A Croatian court on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to 2 ½ years in prison for war profiteering following his retrial in the high-profile corruption case.
The County Court of Zagreb, the capital, ruled that Sanader also must return about half a million euros ($570,000) in kickbacks he took in a deal with Austria’s Hypo Bank in the 1990s.
The court said Sanader, who was deputy foreign minister at the time, was guilty of war profiteering because he acted for his own benefit rather than Croatia’s during its 1992-95 war.
Sanader went on to serve as prime minister from 2003 to 2009. He is the highest-ranking official tried for corruption in Croatia.
Monday’s sentence was shorter than the three years Sanader received previously. Sanader’s lawyers said they would appeal.
“We believe that the verdict is absolutely baseless,” lawyer Cedo Prodanovic said.
Croatian state TV says Sanader was acquitted Monday in a separate corruption case. Altogether, prosecutors had filed five corruption cases against Sanader since 2010.
The ex-prime minister was the leader of the ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union party.


Pakistan avoids terror financing blacklist for now

Updated 4 min 3 sec ago

Pakistan avoids terror financing blacklist for now

  • Pakistan’s government hailed the FATF’s decision, which offers a reprieve to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he works to shore up his country’s faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans
  • The agency’s assessment expresses “serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan” to stop terrorism financing

PARIS: An international monitoring agency has given Pakistan four months to prove it is fighting terrorism financing and money laundering — or it could be put on a damaging global blacklist.
The Financial Action Task Force also threatened Iran, which is already blacklisted, with even tougher restrictions on its international financial activity.
Pakistan’s government on Friday hailed the FATF’s decision, which offers a reprieve to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he works to shore up his country’s faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans.
“Thank God, we have been successful,” Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told The Associated Press.
But the agency’s assessment remained grim, expressing “serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan” to stop terrorism financing.
In a statement after meetings this week at its Paris headquarters, the FATF said Pakistan has addressed only five of 27 measures required to avoid being blacklisted.
If Pakistan doesn’t act by February, FATF president Xiangmin Lui said the agency could put the country on its blacklist, which currently includes only Iran and North Korea.
Experts say the move means every international financial transaction with Pakistan will be closely scrutinized and doing business in Pakistan will become costly and cumbersome. International agencies could place restrictions on lending money to Pakistan, including key creditors such as the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
“Pakistan has not done enough,” Xiangmin told a news conference.
Pakistan should do more to track money transfers and investigate and prosecute terrorism financiers, among other steps, the FATF said.
Qureshi insisted that Pakistan has “taken maximum steps against terror financing.”
“We will continue to take all the required steps, and all conspiracies against us have failed,” he told The AP.
Meanwhile, the watchdog expressed “disappointment” that Iran isn’t taking the necessary steps to be removed from the blacklist, and said it’s asking all member countries to tighten scrutiny of any financial transactions involving Iran.
Virtual currencies such as bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra are also prompting concern from the FATF, which warned of “new risks” from such products. It said they’re being “closely monitored” to ensure they’re not used to finance terrorism or launder money.