Former interior minister and incumbent Mayor of Virovitica Ivica Kirin on Monday was acquitted by Zagreb County Court pending appeal of abuse of office and power in the Fimi Media case due to lack of evidence.
The panel of judges concluded that there is no evidence that major material damage was caused in contentious dealings between the Interior Ministry with Fimi Media nor that the marketing agency profited from them.
The USKOK anti-corruption office has announced that it would appeal today's ruling at the Supreme Court.
USKOK charged Kirin with doing business with Fimi Media between 2006 and 2008 at the insistence of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party's then treasurer Mladen Barisic, even though he knew that money was being siphoned into the party's slush fund.
USKOK claimed that Kirin abused his office and power and in that way defrauded the state budget of HRK 7.5 million.
Kirin is one of the senior state officials and company executives that have been tried separately in the greatest corruption scandal in Croatia in which former prime minister Ivo Sanader and the HDZ are on trial. Sanader has since then been ousted out of the party.