INVESTIGATION: Finland Starts 2nd Patria Corruption Trial; Former President Mesic Suspected

mesic 126 May 2014, LPJ Croatia Issue 86

On 19 May, a preliminary hearing suspecting three former employees of the Finnish arms manufacturer Patria of aggravated bribery has started before the Kanta-Hame District Court.  The charges are related to the alleged payment of bribes to Croatian officials in order to help finalise a deal for the sale of 84 AMV vehicles to Croatian Armed Forces in 2007.  All three defendants have denied the charges.  The trial has been set for 4 September and is expected to be completed in November 2014.

This emerging issue, termed the Patria affair, refers to alleged bribery in the procurement process in Croatia and Slovenia of military vehicles from the Finnish manufacturer, Patria.  Initial details of alleged corruption surfaced in 2008 when Finnish news sources implicated the company and several Slovene politicians, including former prime minister Janez Jansa.  These politicians and officials reportedly received millions of euros in bribes, as payment for awarding Patria the equipment contract.

Prior to the sale of Patria armoured personnel carriers to Croatia, Patria received an order of 135 Patria AMV vehicles from Slovenia in December 2006.   In carrying out the investigations, the three countries involved in the Slovenia procurement case (Slovenia, Finland, and Austria) have agreed to try their respective citizens according to domestic criminal codes…

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