SEPTEMBER 2 2008 00:29h
If I were 30 years younger I would probably stay in Croatia for the sentence, said Simic in a conversation with Bosnia's television.
The cardio-surgeon Ognjen Simic, who fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina after he was sentenced with the right to appeal, to nine years in prison for accepting bribes, said that the evidence of the indictment at the trial before Rijeka's County Court, were planted. He also said that he could return to Croatia to serve the sentence if the first-level indictment is confirmed by the Supreme Court.
- If that verdict is confirmed, of course I will consider returning and serving the sentence in a prison that is different than the infamous "Via Roma" in Rijeka – said Simic in a conversation for the political magazine "60 minuta" which was broadcast by Bosnian Federation television (FTV).
Simic said that he was forced to leave Croatia because his life would be threatened in the prison of Rijeka's County Court.
- My main problem now is my health. If I were 30 years younger I would have probably remained in Croatia and served the sentence as it is – said Simic.
Commenting the verdict itself, Simic repeated earlier statements that he is the victim of a conspiracy, that for unknown reasons, was thought of by USKOK (Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime).
Krajnovic did not give him a bribe, the envelope was planted
For the crown witness Ljerka Krajnovic, he said that she never openly offered him a bribe, and suggested that the envelope with five thousand euros that was used as evidence in court was planted in his office later.
Simic said that, he concluded that brining gifts to doctors, for example "dried ham", was a normal occurrence. He added that he was surprised at this, but "at the suggestion of the hospital board" he decided to start accepting those gifts so as to "not offend anyone or lead them to think that it was not enough".
Commenting judge Ika Saric, who brought the first-level verdict against him, Simic said that she was behaving in an unfriendly manner towards him.