Croatia's Mesic Named in Finnish Bribery Trial

A court in Hameenlinna, Finland, on Monday fined and paroled two officials of the Finnish state-owned arms company Patria for bribing Croatian officials during a sale of armed vehicles in 2007.

Heikki Hulkkonen and Patria's former representative in Croatia, Reijo Niittynen, were given 20 months parole and a 297,000 euro fine each for offering a bribe of 1.6 million euro.

The court said the parole sentences reflected the length of he trial the fact that the accused have no previous criminal record.

As the sentence is first-instance, it can be appealed.

The judgment said Croatia's former President, Stjepan Mesic, and the former director of the Croatian state-owned arms and vehicle company, Djuro Djakovic, Bartol Jerkovic, received the bribe in 2007.

The cash was offered to ensure Djuro Djakovic bought armed vehicles from Patria worth 112 million euro.

Finnish prosecutor Jukka Rappe stated that "in the file of the Finnish case there is a lot of documents and records that have been provided by the Croatian authorities and it is up to them to decide what will they do in Croatia about them".

The affair, codenamed "Patria Affair", became public in 2008 thanks to the work of a Finnish investigative journalist, Magnus Berglund, and his Slovenian colleague, Blaz Zgaga.

They said that Slovenian officials, led by Janez Jansa, prime minster from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013, took a bribe from Patria before Slovenia made a deal with Patria worth 238 million euro.

A Croatian investigative reporter, Sasa Lekovic, who cooperated with Zgaga in revealing the scandal in Croatia, said the Finnish prosecutor had also mentioned Franjo Greguric, prime minister of Croatia from 1991 to 1992, as one of the individuals receiving the...

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