BELGRADE (Reuters) - A court in Zagreb found former Croatian prime minister, Ivo Sanader, not guilty of war profiteering during the country's 1991-95 war.
Sanader, currently serving an 8-year sentence for corruption, was charged with taking a 3.6 million kuna ($464,000) bribe from Austria’s Hypo Alpe Adria bank over the years 1991-95, which the prosecution said was an act of war profiteering punishable by law. Sanader was foreign minister at the time.
Sanader had already been found guilty for this crime in 2012 and 2018, but the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court overturned those verdicts and ordered a new trial.
However, on Wednesday, judge Sasa Lui said: "Ivo Sanader is being acquitted of the charges."
The prosecutors' office said it would appeal the court verdict.
In 2020, Sanader was sentenced to eight years in prison for creating slush funds for his conservative HDZ party by taking money from public companies via a marketing agency.
Sanader, 69, was prime minister from 2003 until 2009, when he stepped down without giving an explanation.
Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 but its Serb minority, backed by Belgrade, seized a third of the country by force. Croatia retook the occupied territory in a 1995 offensive.
($1 = 7.7550 kuna)
(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Bernadette Baum)