Croatia Asks Interpol to Extend Arrest Warrant for Hungarian Businessman

By 11 August 2018

ZAGREB, August 11, 2018 - After a European Court in Luxembourg announced that Hungary should not have ignored the European arrest warrant issued for Zsolt Hernadi, CEO of the Hungarian energy company MOL, the Croatian police have once again requested Interpol to extend a Red Notice for the MOL's CEO, according to what the N1 broadcaster reported on Friday.

In late July, the Court of Justice of the European Union said Hungary should not have ignored an arrest warrant in the case of MOL energy group CEO Hernadi only based on a decision of its Public Prosecutor's Office to close a criminal investigation within which he was questioned only as a witness. "Judicial authorities of the member states are required to adopt a decision on any European arrest warrant communicated to them," the Court said.

After that, the Croatian lawyer for Hernadi said that the Court of Justice of the European Union did not say that Hungary had to extradite Hernadi but that a Hungarian court has to decide on Croatia's extradition request.

The European arrest warrant for Hernadi, which some states have ignored, was issued after Croatia's USKOK anti-corruption office accused him of giving former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader 10 million euro in bribes so that MOL could have management rights in Croatian oil company INA.

In December 2015, Sanader's corruption trial was combined with Hernadi's case, but the latter's defence asked that the case file be translated into Hungarian. They also claimed that Hernadi had been acquitted of bribing Sanader in a private suit in Hungary.

At the end of 2017, Croatia's Supreme Court quashed a decision of 30 May 2017 whereby Zagreb's County Court suspended the Sanader-Hernadi trial while ruling on appeals filed by USKOK and Hernadi's defence. Last week, the County Court adjourned a preliminary hearing in the proceedings until September.