What's Next for Ivica Todorić?

By 24 April 2018

Todorić's lawyer, Jadranka Sloković, told HRT how her client initially went to England to prepare for the proceedings against him in Croatia. What's next for Agrokor's former gazda?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of April, 2018, Jadranka Sloković dismissed allegations of Ivica Todorić's escape, a topic which quickly spiralled and attracted international media attention as Europol placed him among their most wanted. She explained that he was in Zagreb, at Kulmerovi Dvori for six months, and nobody contacted him, nor did they attempt to question him.

Despite intense fighting from his corner through all possible means, the disgraced former Agrokor boss, Ivica Todorić, will be extradited to Croatia from the United Kingdom, the country he believed to have offered him adequate protection, but when exactly this will occur remains unknown as yet. He has seven days to appeal, which he of course took immediate advantage of.

He remains free while pending extradition which was approved by a Westminster court judge in London. The aforementioned judge dismissed most of Todorić's defense arguments because he did not find enough evidence to suggest that he was being persecuted politically, and that, in his view, there was no close involvement of politicians in the Agrokor case. Thus, the precautionary measures under which he was living during his relative freedom in the British capital have now been reset: Instead of reporting twice a week, he has to go to the competent London police station every day, and after 21:00 he cannot leave his registered place of residence, according to HRT.

When will Ivica Todorić, accompanied by judicial police officers, land in Zagreb, and what exactly is the final decision of the powerful British extradition court?

As mentioned, Todoric's lawyer Jadranka Sloković told HRT that her client went to England to prepare for the proceedings against him in Croatia.

Slokovic touched on the fact that Todorić had launched certain procedures, and that he had also launched a procedure in America. ''How, and in what way this is set to continue remains to be seen,'' she noted, adding that the ex Agrokor boss needed this time to stabilise and prepare himself.

Slokovic pointed out that she is not knowledgeable in English law but, according to her knowledge, within seven days, Todorić's lawyer's team will apply for an appeal to this decision. After that, it will be decided whether or not there are grounds for an appeal. If grounds for appeal do in fact exist, a hearing will be held at a higher court where Todorić and his team will put forward their arguments. That procedure alone could last between three to six months.

"If everything is rejected, he'll return to Croatia," explained Sloković.

"First, we need to see if Todorić's appeal will be permitted," stated Davor Derenčinović from the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, explaining that only after that can the procedure begin.

For Vesna Škare Ozbolt, the former Minister of Justice, the decision to extradite Ivica Todorić was more than expected. She added that it was obvious that the Republic of Croatia was well prepared for this process. She considers that the argument about political persecution was without grounds or foundation.

Davor Derenčinovic said that it is the task of the court to take into account whether political persecution is at play or not.

"I have the impression that political persecution doesn't come into anything here, and it's simply a way of defending Ivica Todorić. Talking about political persecution without any argument makes no sense,'' said lawyer and former president of the Croatian Judicial Association, Vladimir Gredelj.

"If the current political set up was to seriously persecute Todorić, he'd never have got to London. I think his escape to London was in some way enabled," Gredelj added.

24sata journalist Ivan Pandžić believes that this agonising process could last as long as a decade, adding his question as to why Todorić didn't simply provide any evidence of the emails, text messages and other messages that he repeatedly mentioned, particularly via his now infamous blog.

"If these messages do exist, this process was the right time for them to be disclosed," he said. Sloković stated that her client was choosing the time to present all the evidence.

"I think certain materials have been kept hold of, certain messages, some of them I've seen, and I think they'll carry a certain weight," Sloković told HRT.