Ex-Croatian PM Sanader sentenced to 9 years in jail for corruption

A court in Croatia has convicted a former prime minister of siphoning millions in state money while in power, and sentenced him to nine years in prison as part of efforts by EU's newest member to root out corruption.

The verdict Tuesday was the second conviction for Ivo Sanader, who ruled from 2004 to 2009. Sanader, the highest-ranking former official ever tried in the Balkan country, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery in 2012.

The County court in Zagreb ruled that Sanader and his associates siphoned millions through a private firm and then to their own accounts and Croatian Democratic Union's party funds. Judges ordered that Sanader return some 2 million euros (nearly $2.8 million).

Sanader denied guilt and said the charges were politically motivated.