Croatia's former PM flees corruption inquiry

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The Independent Online

A former Croatian prime minister under investigation in a corruption case left the country yesterday hours before parliament lifted his immunity from prosecution.

Ivo Sanader, now a member of parliament, left Croatia at midday, crossing into Slovenia, the police spokesman Krunoslav Borovec said. Police "had no legal basis" to stop him at the time.

It wasn't immediately clear where Sanader – who had served as prime minister from 2003 until he quit in July 2009 – was heading. But he has a company in Austria and frequently visits the US. Neither Sanader nor his representatives could be reached for comment.

Vecernji List newspaper reported that Sanader told them in a text message that he was "on a trip planned beforehand" and that he will "of course" contact prosecutors when he returns.

Croatia's President criticised police for allowing him to leave the country.

Several former government officials and businessmen have been jailed as Sanader's successor, Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, works to fight corruption, which is a key condition for Croatia's entry into the European Union.