Former Croatian Prime Minister Extradited on Corruption Charges

An international warrant issued by Croatia for the arrest of their former prime minister has led to him being extradited from Austria to Croatia Tuesday.

Former prime minister Ivo Sanader will be forced to undergo further questioning Thursday about allegations of corruption and abuse of power during his term in office. He is the highest-ranking Croatian official ever to be accused of criminal activity, and fled the country after authorities started delving into his suspected wrongdoings seven months ago.

Croatia’s current prime minister and Sanader’s former close associate, Jadranka Kosor, said Tuesday that “everyone in Croatia can expect a swift and conclusive investigation and, if there is a trial, a swift and just trial.”

The Balkan nation of Croatia promised to root out all corruption as part of an effort to join the European Union in 2013.

“No one is untouchable, anti-corruption struggles must include all,” Kosor said.

Sanader has not yet been officially indicted, and faces a total of five investigations into accusations of abuse of power and corruption worth millions of euros. The former prime minister denies the allegations and initially opposed his extradition from Austria, claiming that he would not receive a fair trial in his home country and that the allegations were politically motivated. He later retracted the claims.

Sanader, 57, was Prime Minister from 2004 to 2009, and is suspected to have diverted state budget money into a secret slush fund for his conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), according to a report from Reuters.