Sanader sets up firm in Innsbruck

Former Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has founded a company in Austria, it has emerged.The controversial ex-politician – who surprisingly stepped down as prime minister last year – holds a 95 per cent stake in Prima Consulting GmbH, according to Tyrolean newspapers.Reports have it that Sanader teamed up with Austrian businessman Wolfgang Kröss to set up the company with headquarters in Innsbruck. Sanader graduated at Innsbruck University in 1982.His Austrian spokeswoman Heidi Glück – who formerly represented ex-Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel – said today (Thurs): “Preparations to found the company have been going on for quite a while. Sanader’s focus is currently on his teaching activities at Columbia University (in the USA).”Austrian media report that the new company will focus on consult investments but also handle import and export activities itself.Croatian weekly magazine Nacional claimed last month Sanader was accused of pocketing huge sums in connection to Hypo Group Alpe Adria’s (HGAA) careless lending activities in Croatia.The Austrian bank had to be nationalised last December and Austrian authorities are currently investigating around 40 suspects across Europe.A report by Nacional has it that Sanader received hundreds of thousands of Euros in the 1990s from Croatian firms to ensure they received loans from HGAA.Croat media have speculated Sanader was entangled in fraudulent business activities after his sensational resignation in July 2009. The ex-politician dismissed such accusations as “baseless”. Croatian state prosecutors deny they have been investigating Sanader.Former HGAA boss Wolfgang Kulterer was taken into custody last month. He is considered as being responsible for the institute’s lax loan policy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), but some business magazines have speculated he might be nothing but a scapegoat investigators can blame for all mismanagement.