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Trial postponed for former Croatia PM

The corruption trial of former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader was postponed Friday for health reasons. Sanader has suffered from coronary problems and is expected to undergo a medical examination [BBC report] in preparation for trial now scheduled to start next week. Sanader, who was elected to parliament after he stepped down from the prime minister position in 2009, stands accused of corruption, abuse of power and fraud for taking nearly €4 million from public firms and state institutions [JURIST report]. The former prime minister denies any wrongdoing. The trial in Zagreb is scheduled to start next Thursday, November 3.

This high profile corruption charge comes as Croatia comes close to EU membership, hoping to join in July 2013. Sanader was indicted in September for corruption. The country's Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) alleged Sanader received a pay-off [JURIST report] of more than 3.6 million kuna (nearly USD $695,000) from Austria's Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank in exchange for the country entering into a loan agreement to receive 140 million Austrian Schillings (USD $14.7 million) in order to place the bank in the Croatian market. Sanader was extradited [JURIST report] to Croatia in July in order to face these charges after he was arrested in Austria last December. Sanader argued that it would be impossible to receive a fair trail in Croatia, but he dropped it after media speculation [JURIST report] suggested the appeal could harm EU Croatia's accession.

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