Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Todoric Family Struggling to Survive: Humanitarian Effort Launched

After Ivica Todoric revealed publicly that his family is struggling to survive, a Split association will organize a humanitarian effort this Sunday. Citizens can bring food, clothing and other supplies. The president of the association promised that he would deliver everything in person to Kulmorovi dvori on Monday January 20, 2020.

As reported by Lauren Simmonds/TCN, on January 9, 2020; Ivica Todoric, who is awaiting trial in Croatia, has alerted the media that he and his family are struggling to survive. His announcement has provoked quite a response because he was known to have been one of the richest people in Croatia for decades.

His words have been taken seriously by Jakša Bulić, president of the association for national development “Bili cvitak”.


Bili Cvitak Launches Humanitarian Effort to Help Todorics

Therefore, he has announced a humanitarian effort "Let's Help the Todorics", which will be held on Sunday, January 19, 2020 in Solin. The association calls on all citizens of goodwill to donate food, hygienic supplies, clothing and footwear to Ivica Todorić and his family, according to Dalmacija danas on January 13, 2020.

“We have decided to launch "Let's Help the Todorics" a humanitarian effort for religious citizens and Catholics collect donations and supplies for the Todorics. On Sunday, January 19, 2020 we will collect everything from 10am to 12pm in front of the post office in Solin,” announced Jakša Bulić, president of the association.

Donations Will be Delivered to Todoric Residence on Monday

They group has already participated in various humanitarian efforts, such as an effort to build a school and a water supply system in Ogorje.

Citizens can bring food, shoes, clothing and other supplies, and the president of the association confirmed to Dalmacija danas that he will bring everything in person to Kulmorovi dvori, the Todoric residence, on Monday.

“It is up to Mr. Todoric whether he will accept our donations, but it is important for us as citizens to show our goodwill,” Bulić emphasized.

Follow our Lifestyle page to keep updated on the upcoming trial of Ivica Todoric.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Ex Agrokor Boss Ivica Todoric Discusses Current Lifestyle as Trial Looms

Ivica Todoric isn't a name anyone has forgotten, nor will they forget it easily. The former Agrokor boss and his dodgy deals which almost saw the country's entire economy pulled to its very knees are yet to be fully investigated, but the clock is ticking. Kulmerovi dvori, in which Agrokor's ex top dog lives, was rented out for weddings, press conferences and other events when Todoric himself was living in London.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of January, 2020, it has now been a full two years since the investigation into the once most powerful Croatian entrepreneur - Ivica Todoric - was first opened, and no indictment has yet been made. Although the Zagreb County State Attorney's Office has broken all deadlines, there is no sanction for them.

The State Attorney's Office has so far spent three million kuna investigating the situation, and while that makes for juicy headlines for newspapers, just what does Ivica Todoric, once one of the most untouchable men in Croatia say for himself now? More importantly, what does he actually live on now? The ex Agrokor boss sat down and spoke with an RTL reporter in Kulmerovi dvori, high above Zagreb, where he still resides.

Asked how he lives today, Todoric replied that it is now more difficult than it was, but that he remains cheerful.

''Our family and friends help us, we don't spend money on anything now, I don't even know what money we'd be spending. We live difficultly, but cheerfully. But you just watch and wait til all this is cleared up, I'll bring a new spirit to this region, to Croatia, I cannot tell you how glad I am about what I managed to do, and how I exposed a criminal organisation,'' Todoric told RTL, likely referring to HDZ and his frequent accusations of them being the real corruptors and destroyers of the former Agrokor (now Fortenova).

When asked if Kulmerovi dvori are still being rented out, the former head of Agrokor said:

''That's what my daughter (Iva) was doing while I was away, she was trying to survive,'' said Todoric, adding that his family was not comfortable at the moment because of all of the pressure still going on.

An investigation into Ivica Todoric, his sons Ivan and Ante and Agrokor's managers was first opened two years ago. The Croatian Government even provided five million kuna to fund the whole affair, but the prosecution is still stuck in the dark, with no charges to report yet, RTL reports.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Ljubljana Court Upholds Decision on Mercator Shares Expropriation

ZAGREB, January 8, 2020 - Ljubljana District Court on Tuesday upheld a decision by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (AVK) on the expropriation of Mercator shares owned by the Croatian food company Agrokor, rejecting the appeal in that case as unfounded, AVK said.

AVK said on its website it had received a decision by Ljubljana District Court regarding an appeal submitted by Agrokor against a decision by AVK to temporarily confiscate Agrokor's shares in Mercator in an effort to secure the enforcement of a misdemeanour decision.

"The agency explains that the decision by the relevant court has entirely upheld the agency's decision and rejected the appeal as unfounded," AVK said briefly.

AVK decided to confiscate Agrokor's shares in Mercator on December 16 in an effort to secure the enforcement of the misdemeanour decision to fine Agrokor 53.9 million euro for not reporting concentration with the Costella water bottling company.

Agrokor appealed against the decision on December 24, claiming that it was legally unfounded, unconstitutional, arbitrary and unlawful.

At the time, Agrokor reported Slovenian agency to the Vice-President of the European Commission and EU competition authorities and institutions for the protection of market competition regarding the transfer of Mercator's assets from Agrokor to the new Fortenova group. Agrokor then said that AVK's decision was contrary to the laws and practice in the EU and Slovenia.

Agrokor on Tuesday expressed regret over a Ljubljana court decision rejecting its appeal against a decision by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (AVK) on the expropriation of Agrokor's shares in Mercator and said that it would use all legal means to contest the decision.

"Agrokor expresses its regret over the court's decision and will use all available legal means to have the agency's final decision overturned to ensure its ownership rights in Mercator," Agrokor said in a press release.

Slovenia's Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek on Tuesday supported the Ljubljana court's decision to reject Agrokor's complaint as unfounded.

"Slovenia is a law-governed state and its laws need to be respected," Počivalšek said on his Twitter profile.

More Agrokor news can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Slovenian Court Decides on Mercator Shares Expropriation

ZAGREB, January 4, 2020 - Ljubljana District Court delivered on December 31 a decision in the case of the expropriation of Mercator shares owned by Agrokor and sent the decision to Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (AVK), however, the Court hasn't revealed its decision, and the agency says they haven't received the decision yet, reports Slovenia's press agency (STA).

"The Agrokor-Mercator case was decided within 48 hours and the case file was returned to the Competition Protection Agency," said the Court to STA.

The Court wasn't able to provide more information since they don't know if the decision has been delivered to the AVK.

The AKV today stated they haven't received the court decision yet, STA reports.

The agency decided to confiscate Agrokor's shares in Mercator on December 16 in an effort to secure the enforcement of the misdemeanour decision of fining Agrokor 53.9 million euro for not reporting concentration with the Costella water bottling company.

Agrokor appealed against the decision on December 24, claiming that the agency did not have any legal grounds for the decision and that it was unconstitutional, arbitrary and unlawful.

Agrokor reported Slovenian agency to the Vice-President of the European Commission and EU competition authorities.

More Agrokor news can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Agrokor Reports Slovenian Competition Agency to EU Authorities

ZAGREB, December 28, 2019 - The Agrokor company has reported the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency to the European Commission and EU competition authorities over the agency's recent moves in connection with the transfer of Mercator's assets from Agrokor to Fortenova.

Agrokor's emergency administrator Fabris Peruško on Friday sent a letter to European Commission Vice-President and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Director-General for Competition Cecilio Madero Villarejo and the heads of the competition authorities of the EU member states and members of the European Competition Network, informing them of recent moves by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency in connection with the transfer of Mercator's assets from Agrokor to Fortenova Group and saying that they were contrary to the laws and practices of the EU and Slovenia.

Peruško drew attention to violations of investors' legitimate expectations with regard to the application of law and practice to investment within the EU, discrimination on grounds of nationality and illegal expropriation of investment within the EU committed by the Slovenian competition agency. He said that these matters were currently before Slovenian courts and that action was likely to be taken before international courts.

The Croatian retail chain Agrokor currently holds a 69.6 percent stake in Slovenia's Mercator. Peruško recalled that in April 2017 Agrokor was placed under emergency administration and planned to transfer its stake in Mercator to the restructured Croatian legal entity Fortenova Group.

"It seems that the Slovenian administration wishes to prevent this transfer for national political reasons and instead orchestrate that the 69.6 percent stake is transferred to a third party. To this end, on 24 September 2019 the Agency imposed a €53.9 million fine on Agrokor because in 2016, when the company was managed and owned by Ivica Todoric, it did not report concentration for evaluation. The Agency used the fine as an excuse to freeze the 69.6 percent stake to prevent its transfer to Fortenova Group. These actions are contrary to local Slovenian law and practice, as well as to EU law and practice, and constitute a breach of international law," Peruško wrote.

He warned that as a result of such actions by the Slovenian administration the ongoing restructuring of Agrokor, including the transfer of Agrokor's stake in Mercator to Fortenova Group, was likely to be delayed or derailed.

This can have considerable implications for the creditors and, in a wider sense, for the EU competition and insolvency regimes, Peruško concluded.

More Agrokor news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

First Indictment Against Todorić Upheld

ZAGREB, December 17, 2019 - The Zagreb County Court on Tuesday upheld the first indictment against the former owner of the Agrokor food and retail concern, Ivica Todorić, former Agrokor managers Ante Huljev and Piruška Canjuga, and Austrian national Nicole de Rossi.

The prosecution alleges that Todorić, as Agrokor Management Board chair, and Huljev, as the company's executive director of finance, in 2013 abused their powers by enabling the payment of 1.25 million euro of the company's money to a Swiss company for fictitious consulting services.

Through this operation the Swiss company obtained illegal gain while Agrokor was defrauded of 1.25 million euro, the county prosecutor's office said after issuing the indictment in late September.

De Rossi is charged with helping Todorić and Huljev by issuing a bill on behalf of the Swiss company for the fictitious consulting services.

The indictment alleges that the actual owners of the Swiss company were Huljev and Canjuga.

The indictees are charged with incitement to and aiding and abetting abuse of trust in business operations.

Todoric has been under investigation since November 2017 on the suspicion of making an illegal gain of more than a billion kuna. That investigation also covers his sons Ivan and Ante Todorić and 12 Agrokor managers and auditors.

Investigative custody was set only for Ivica Todorić, who after his extradition from London to Croatia was taken to Zagreb's Remetinec prison but on 20 November 2018 he was released on bail in the amount of 7.5 million kuna and banned from leaving Zagreb.

More news about Ivica Todorić can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Fortenova Official, Slovenian Economy Minister Talk Mercator's Transfer

ZAGREB, December 6, 2019 - Fortenova Group chairman of the Board Maksim Poletaev said on Friday he talked with Slovenian Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek in Ljubljana the day before about solving outstanding issues concerning the transfer of the Mercator retailer to the group by the end of the year.

The talks, attended by Sergey Volkov of Sberbank, focused on a model of cooperation so that the outstanding issues over Mercator are solved positively by the end of the year, to which both parties committed, Poletaev says in a press released cited by Slovenia's news agency.

He says both parties have common goals concerning Mercator and are on the same line concerning the inter-dependence of Mercator's local suppliers and attempts to keep the retailer's HQ in Ljubljana for the next few years.

Foretnova's Board will also meet with Slovenia's market competition regulator, whose approval is necessary to transfer Mercator to Fortenova Group, Poletaev says.

The Slovenian Economy Ministry said in a press release that Thursday's meeting between Počivalšek, Poletaev and Volkov discussed a solution which, upon Mercator's possible transfer to Fortenova, would ensure equal treatment for Slovenian suppliers.

Slovenian media said on Thursday that Fortenova had reported Počivalšek to the European Commission over statements which could be interpreted as pressure on a private company in the form of conditions for said transfer.

Commenting on this before Thursday's meeting, Počivalšek said Slovenia was legitimately protecting the interests of its suppliers and that Slovenian laws applied in Slovenia, not Croatia's Lex Agrokor.

More news about Fortenova (Agrokor) can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Agrokor Suppliers Will Take Legal Action So Settlement Is Honoured

ZAGREB, September 5, 2019 - Agrokor's suppliers will take legal action so that the settlement reached for the former conglomerate is honoured, the representative of big suppliers in the Temporary Creditor's Council, Marica Vidaković, said on Wednesday, adding that no agreement had been reached with Fortenova Group on the payment of the border debt and that this was why suppliers were against refinancing a roll-up loan.

She was speaking to the press after the Council, with three votes from financial creditors' representatives, gave its consent to former Agrokor emergency administrator Fabris Peruško to take out a loan to refinance Agrokor's debts. Vidaković and the representative of small suppliers, Mato Brlošić, voted against.

Vidaković said suppliers had pushed for reaching a compromise on the pace of the payment of Agrokor's border debt but that the Fortenova Group leaders were not willing to reach an agreement.

She said suppliers could not support new borrowing as a contract with new creditors contained a border debt payment clause, limiting it to 15 million over euro four years, that was contrary to the settlement.

Vidaković said suppliers believed this morning that a compromise would be reached, under which Fortenova would pay suppliers at least 50% of their claims each year, limiting the amount to 10 million euro per year.

Fortenova CEO Peruško said earlier today that the group had raised its offer for border debt payments this year to 9 million euro instead of 5 million euro, that they had done everything to reach an agreement, but that "some supplier representatives put their own interest before the interests of every other stakeholder in this process."

Asked to comment, Vidaković said the "company's future is actually jeopardised by an individual's possible ambitions" and called Peruško's statement "a potential threat."

The border debt totals 70 million euro and was incurred over two months prior to an emergency administration entering Agrokor. It was for goods supplied whose payment was due on 10 April 2017. Under the settlement, the repayment is to be carried out over four years if the Konzum retail chain's EBITDA exceeds 38.8 million euro. Given Konzum's results last year, suppliers expected the payment of 17.5 million euro.

More Agrokor/Fortenova news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Executives of Agrokor's Big Suppliers under Probe for Forgery

ZAGREB, August 29, 2019 - The Zagreb County Office of the State Prosecutor on Wednesday filed 13 indictments against a total of 29 suspects for wrongdoings in 13 companies and according to media reports those indictments refer to executives in companies that were large suppliers to Agrokor group and to Agrokor's founder Ivica Todorić.

The indictees who were presumably senior executives in Kraš, Sokol Marić, Tisak, Konzum, Agrofructus, AVT, Nexus and Granolio, are charged with forging official documents.

The local office of the State Prosecutor on Wednesday stated that it had submitted the 13 indictments to a Zagreb municipal court against 29 people responsible for actions in 13 companies.

The media have speculated that wrongdoings concerned forgery in financial bills of exchange.

More news about Agrokor can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Fortenova Asks EC for Concentration Approval in Case of Mercator

ZAGREB, August 20, 2019 - The Fortenova Group, that has taken over the sound segment of the ailing conglomerate Agrokor, has informed the European Commission about its intention to take over the Slovenian chain of shops, Mercator, the Slovenian news agency STA reported on Tuesday.

Agrokor acquired the Slovenian retailer Mercator in 2014.

A source from the group today confirmed that they had notified the EC about its move and the Zagreb-based group started the procedure for a prior concentration approval on 13 August in Brussels.

Fortenova does not want to prejudge the outcome of the control procedure before the EC.

Currently, 69.57% of the Mercator stock is held by Agrokor, Russia's Sberbank holds 18.54%, and the remaining 11.89% is held by various banks and private investors, the local media report.

More news about Fortenova can be found in the Business section.

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