Bloomberg News

Gazprom Says Not Involved in Croatian Corruption Case

December 01, 2011

(Updates with reaction from Croatian prosecutors in the last paragraph.)

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, wasn’t related to two Cyprus-based affiliates at the time they were allegedly involved in a bribery case that led to the trial of former Croatian Premier Ivo Sanader, a Gazprom official said.

Hungarian weekly Heti Valasz wrote in an article published today that Gazprom was linked to companies that allegedly paid a 10 million-euro ($13.5 million) bribe to Sanader when Croatian refiner INA Industrija Nafte d.d was partially sold by the government.

“Gazprom Group has no relation to the events described in the article of the Hungarian newspaper Heti Valasz,” the official said, who declined to be identified because of corporate policy.

Croatian prosecutors are accusing Zsolt Hernadi, chief executive officer of Hungarian refiner Mol Nyrt., of paying the bribe to Sanader for a controlling stake in INA through two companies, Hangarn Oil Products Trading Ltd. and Ceroma Holdings Ltd. The two are controlled by Gazprom through Atlas Alpha Services Ltd. and Potassa Holdings Ltd., Heti Valasz reported.

“The companies mentioned in the media report only became affiliated to Gazprom after the alleged facts in October 2011,” the official said. “Gazprom bears no responsibility whatsoever for any activities undertaken by these companies before this date.”

Commenting on the Hungarian article, Croatian prosecutors said they have been acquainted with the ownership records of the two Cyprus-based companies. These findings have no impact on the Sanader case, the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime said today in a statement on its website.

--With assistance from Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb

--With assistance from Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb. Editors: Douglas Lytle, James M. Gomez

To contact the reporter on this story: Edith Balazs in Budapest at ebalazs1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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