Friday, 8 July 2022

Former Agrokor Boss Ivica Todoric Comments on Zdravko Maric's Departure

July the 8th, 2022 - Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, who was with the government in that position for six years, seemingly suddenly stepped down of his own accord recently, and former Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric, with whom the now former finance minister was embroiled back in 2017, has made a comment.

If you'd like to learn more about Zdravko Maric's history and the reasons behind him stepping down from his longtime position within Andrej Plenkovic's government (HDZ), you can do so here.

The article also details Zdravko Maric's close involvement with the Agrokor saga which threatened to bring the Croatian economy to its knees back in 2017 when certain goings on among its leading names and former boss Ivica Todoric came to light. Maric came to work within the government from Agrokor, and naturally, Ivica Todoric had a lot to say about the otherwise rather unassuming former minister back then, and now.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, ex Agrokor founder and boss Ivica Todoric says that he has analysed everything to do with the current political situation and that he is very much inclined to believe that the reason for Zdravko Maric stepping down from his position within the government is the loss of the Republic of Croatia's dispute against Hungary's MOL, an issue which has otherwise been plaguing the government for a significant amount of time now.

"The dispute was initiated by MOL. Croatia will now have to pay an amount between 250-300 million euros, plus interest. A thorough analysis of this case would reveal many facts that would lead one to accuse Andrej Plenkovic of simply handing Croatia's INA over to MOL, and this should of course be avoided at all costs.

In the same sense, it would open up the story of the arbitration related to Agrokor once again, which would only further complicate Plenkovic's position even more. In order to avoid dramatic evidence against himself coming to light (he's trying to sweep everything under the rug), Andrej Plenkovic planned and prepared the strongest possible media bomb to save his own skin. So Maric is now leaving to try to save Plenkovic," Ivica Todoric wrote on Facebook.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

State Attorney Office Indictment Against Ivica Todoric Still Unconfirmed

October the 20th, 2021 - The Croatian State Attorney's Office's indictment against former Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric, as well as fourteen of his former accomplices, remains unconfirmed to this day.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the indictment of the State Attorney's Office in the Agrokor case against the former owner Ivica Todoric and fourteen other defendants charged with varying forms of abuse of the former company worth hundreds of millions of kuna has not been confirmed yet, and now it has become questionable whether the key evidence is even legal, as reported by Jutarnji list.

The High Criminal Court Chamber, chaired by Judge Ivan Turudic, partially upheld the defense's appeals over key evidence in the Agrokor case - a bookkeeping (financial) finding prepared by KPMG's Polish subsidiary. The defense argues that this evidence is actually illegal.

As to the legality of the expertise, the High Criminal Court considers that it cannot examine the decisive facts at all or determine whether there are reasons to single out this evidence as illegal in itself. According to the court, it is disputable that it isn't clear who (and indeed to what extent) participated in the preparation of the expert report in question, and therefore it wasn't possible to verify whether the persons who participated in the preparation of the findings and opinions were in conflict of interest. If that is the case, it could well be a legal reason for exemption.

Namely, although the accounting and financial expertise has been signed by Ismet Kamal, an employee of the Polish branch of KPMG, the defense pointed out that KMPG Hrvatska also worked on it, which, given that it was hired by the then extraordinary management of Agrokor, and that there was a conflict of interest. Therefore, the expertise is considered illegal.

Expert witness Kamal pointed out that he was responsible for the finding and opinion, and that he couldn't disclose information about the persons who helped him due to the signed statement of confidentiality under GDPR. The County Court also received such an answer from KPMG's branch in Poland. That was enough for the Indictment Chamber to reject the motion to separate the expertise as illegal evidence in the case against ex-Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric.

This was not the case, however, for the High Criminal Court, which gave the Indictment Chamber of the County Court a clear instruction to conduct the so-called trial on the legality of the evidence, call Ismet Kamal as a witness, determine who participated in the preparation of the accounting and financial expertise and work out whether or not he was in a conflict of interest.

For more, make sure to check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Fortenova Group Selling Cibona Tower, Former Seat of Todoric's Agrokor

October the 19th, 2021 - Following a name change to rid the company of its negative associations, the famous Cibona tower, the former seat of the formerly untouchable Ivica Todoric's all powerful Agrokor is now up for sale. The attractive space may well be appealing to many, but for many Croatian businesses, bad energy may dominate and throw a spanner in the works for a quick sale.

It seems a lifetime ago that the potential collapse of Agrokor was the single biggest threat to the Croatian economy. It seems like a much smaller concern in comparison to the economic situation of 2020 caused by the pandemic, but back in 2017, Ivica Todoric's alleged wrongdoing dominated the domestic media space. Fortenova Group, formerly Agrokor, has done an enormous amount of work to reshape what was a crumbling business on the very edge of total collapse, and under Fabris Perusko, the business side of things has recovered rather remarkably.  

Hard work has been done to ''rinse'' the company, only this time not of money, but of bad associations following a tremendous scandal involving former top dog Ivica Todoric and various other individuals, including some big government names. Now the Cibona tower in the City of Zagreb is up for grabs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Fortenova Group has started selling off business premises located within the famous Cibona tower, the former headquarters of Todoric's Agrokor, which looms imposingly over its surroundings. 16 of the 21 floors of the building, which are majority owned by Fortenova Group, are now on the market, writes tportal.

The Colliers agency, which mediates in sales, emphasises that this is a ''famous office building'' in a prestigious location in the centre of Zagreb. According to their estimates, investors could achieve a rental yield of 7 to 9 percent per year, with the possibility of significant capital gains on top of that.

A total of 5,827 square metres of space is for sale, which includes 16 floors of office space and 65 garage spaces, which makes up about 76 percent of the skyscraper's area.

In addition to Fortenova Group, which has a 76 percent stake, the co-owners of the Cibona tower are CI-MED, which holds 10 percent, and Elektroprojekt, which owns 14 percent.

Currently, 35 percent of the advertised space is rented by various users.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Why Was Former Agrokor Boss Ivica Todoric Found Not Guilty?

October the 9th, 2020 - The name Ivica Todoric has become synonymous with high level corruption and masked deeds in the weird world of Croatian business in which politics tends to mix a little too closely.

The former boss of Agrokor (now Fortenova) has had a wild ride of sorts. From fleeding Croatia to London, where he lived in a wealthy area and was tried by a British court, to being sent back to Croatia and to Remetinec and then released after somehow finding the huge amount of money in cash needed to secure bail. Things were all quiet on the proverbial Western Front for several months as Ivica Todoric's trial loomed.

The former main man of Agrokor, a previously untouchable and somewhat precarious figure who had built Agrokor from nothing into the enormous, strategically important company it later became, was like a dog with a bone in his fight to shed light on the alleged corruption which surrounded the ''kidnapping of Agrokor'' as he so frequently referred to it. He profusely claimed that the many accusations against him were false and that he had plenty of evidence to prove that. He wrote his later somewhat infamous blog from the comfort of his former London pad and went about exposing all and sundry at the Croatian political top of the time, with former Deputy PM Martina Dalic, a favourite target of his, leaving her position amid the claims. You can read more about Ivica Todoric, the only English language translations of his blog and his varying escapades here.

Finally, Ivica Todoric's trial actually began, and he was proclaimed innocent. But why? The presiding judge offered her reasoning for her passing that verdict.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ivana Jakelic/VL writes on the 7th of October, 2020, the Zagreb County Court handed down the first verdict to the former owner of Agrokor, Ivica Todoric and his co-defendants and former business associates for extracting 1.26 million euros from Agrokor through the account of a Swiss company. Ivica Todoric, Ante Huljev, Piruska Canjuga and Nicole de Rossi were all acquitted.

"After the evidentiary proceedings, it hasn't been proven that the accused would've committed the criminal offenses in the manner in which they've been charged. In order to be found guilty, every allegation in the indictment list must be proven. In this procedure, the allegations from the indictment have not been proven,'' explained Judge Maja Stampar Stipic.

''The Trial Chamber found that the money paid was spent on advisory services. The state attorney's office didn't bring any evidence to the table that would contradict that,'' she added. The Council concluded that the engagement of the consulting company benefited Agrokor and that Mercator was purchased after that deal.

"This regarded the realisation of a very successful business venture," said the judge. The prosecution charged the four with extracting 1.2 million euros from Agrokor through the account of a Swiss company for services that were not performed.

Ivica Todoric's co-defendants denied their guilt and claimed that everything that happened was done to get a job done. The Prosecution, on the other hand, considered that the allegations in the indictment had been proven, ie that it was a job that hadn't been performed. They have since announced an appeal against the verdict.

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Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Ivica Todoric's New Lawyer is Former USKOK Chief Zeljko Zganjer

What with the global coronavirus pandemic, the threat of economic collapse and the need to reassess the way in which we live our lives, from our basic social interactions to the way we work, you've probably forgotten all about former Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric and his own role in the almost-destruction of the domestic economy.

Yes, Ivica Todoric is still around. He hasn't been forgotten about. His former lawyers, the well known Jadranka Slokovic and Cedo Prodanovic, who famously defended him in front of the British court in London, have stepped down from their positions in Todoric's regard, and now he has someone new fighting his corner...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of May, 2020, from next week, all of Croatia's legal ''elite'' will return to the scene, as will the many active lawsuits. From Ivo Sanader and Marina Lovric Merzel through to Nadan Vidosevic and, well... the list goes on and on and I'd be here for most of the day if I were to list all of these names. One of the more high-profile trials that will be found in court is the case of the former Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric.

RTL has discovered that Todoric's new lawyer is no less than Croatia's former USKOK chief Zeljko Zganjer. The other is Ljiljana Planinic. For those unfamiliar with USKOK, this institution is a body of the Croatian criminal justice system: The Croatian State Prosecutor's Office for the Suppression of Organised Crime and Corruption/Ured za suzbijanje korupcije i organiziranog kriminaliteta).

"Yesterday, I received a notification that I had been appointed ex-officio defense counsel for Ivica Todoric. It's a factually complex process,'' said the former USKOK boss, and in reference to the now infamous case in which there are 100,000 pages of documents, he said:

"It will take me a long time. I need to sit down and try to study the whole thing,'' he said. Regarding the difference between an ex-officio lawyer and the situation in which someone actually hires him as a lawyer, Zganjer said:

"There's no essential difference. A lawyer must work conscientiously and correctly and with dedication in both cases,''

In regard to the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, but also the Zagreb earthquake, he said:

"It simply came to our notice then. We as lawyers must accept the schedule of hearings. And each of us will do our best to provide legal protection to the extent which is possible.''

For more, follow our lifestyle page.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Smokvica: Revitalisation Plan Sought for Todoric Family's Former Island

Smokvica is a little island located in the picturesque Sibenik archipelago in Dalmatia. This beautiful, quaint paradise was once used by the notorious, formerly untouchable Todoric family, the head of which is Ivica Todoric, the former owner of the Agrokor empire.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 18th of February, 2020, after the island was returned to state ownership after the Agrokor crisis broke out back in 2017, resulting in the sale of Todoric's property to try to attempt to cover costs incurred during his alleged dodgy dealings, the Ministry of State Property signed a thirty-year lease with Green Real Estate (Zelena nekretnina d.o.o.), founded by a Hungarian fund.

That lease was signed back in mid-2018.

After Lex Agrokor came into force and Agrokor was signed over to the state, eventually transforming and much later becoming the current Fortenova Group, Smokvica almost disappeared from public view in terms of media coverage. This stunning yet mysterious island was used privately by the Todoric family for some twenty years, and when the dynasty fell and the truth came to light, the problem of revitalising the island of Smokvica arose.

This was the topic of a recent meeting at the Ministry of State Property (MDI) with tenant representatives, Sibenik-Knin County, the Municipality of Rogoznica and the relevant ministries in search of a solution for a possible conversion model that would be legally applicable to the island of Smokvica, on which there is still some military infrastructure.

Now that Smokvica is entering a new phase after twenty years or so of being the ''home'' of the Todoric family during the summer months, shut off from the rest of Croatia and indeed the rest of the world, an agreement is being attempted to be reached by involved parties and the current thirty-year lease holders to revitalise the island which was once the paradise of one of the country's most notorious families.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Ivica Todoric Convenes Press Conference on Agrokor Affair

The former Agrokor is now Fortenova. It has gone from a collapsing empire of sand threatening to take down the entire Croatian economy with it, to a stable company generally operating with profits under Fabris Perusko. Its new name may help to remove it from its difficult past, and its new CEO may help to dull some of the stains left on it from the Todoric family reign, but Ivica Todoric is still sticking to his guns when it comes to the multitude of accusations he has thrown out over the last two or three years.

Life has taken a dramatic turn for the former Gazda (boss) of Agrokor. From private islands, yachts and helicopters to a fundraiser for his family who are apparently struggling to survive, one thing nobody can accuse Ivica Todoric of is being boring.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 16th of January, 2020, Ivica Todoric convened a press conference at which he spent the time talking about new evidence he has of apparent crime in the Agrokor affair and new findings about the now infamous Borg group.

He says he is the only one who really knows the whole truth, but it's ironic that despite much time spent on it, he has had no evidence to back up that truth to this day. He thinks that it is the Croatian political system that has stopped the truth from coming to light, Vecernji list writes.

Although DORH rejected his criminal charges against Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and former Economy Minister Martina Dalic, both of whom are HDZ, he announced that he would continue a private lawsuit.

He showed five emails of the so-called correspondence with the Borg group and claimed that their goal was to spread the falsities about Agrokor.

He is convinced that the majority owners of Agrokor should have become Croatian banks and Croatian creditors because they had the highest claims. He added that he had been forced to transfer ownership of the company to foreign banks.

He believes that the Borg group had long since prepared to rob a large part of Agrokor and was the one to finally throw Agrokor to its knees. "Today, the processes they conduct are criminal, the settlement is no longer beind done in the way they agreed," Todoric explained.

"We all know that three years ago, one of the most important topics was the Agrokor affair, which influenced events in this part of Europe politically, socially and economically. There was a lot of talk about Agrokor, and a lot was written. During all those years, I never held a press conference, nor did I come before the public in this way,'' said Ivica Todoric at the beginning of the conference.

"It all started when [Martina] Dalic said there would be a new assembly. I was shocked, it was clear to me that Plenkovic was behind it all. I made the decision for it to be the least damaging for me and the other participants. I withdrew, up until the 16th of March, I had no idea that something like this could happen.

I had no documentation, no papers. I was sure that I could cetainly prove what had happen to me and that I'd win the whole Agrokor affair because I knew the whole truth, only my problem was that I had no evidence for that truth. I had to patiently build my own tower of maps that would eventually create a picture of everything, and then I needed to be able to present it in a quality way,'' said Ivica Todoric.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more.

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”.

todoric_humanitarian_effort_02.jpg

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.

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.

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