Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Todorić on Money Withdrawal from Agrokor: That Was My Money

Amid recent reports from the expert witness who revealed his damning findings about just how much of Agrokor's company money the Todorić family used for their own personal expenses, Ivica Todorić, the former owner of Agrokor, hits back publicly.

"The key thing I want to point out today is the fact that the money they're talking about for the fourth time, in what I have to admit is the most totally sensationalist manner, is my money, and I've paid all of the necessary taxes on it," stated the former Agrokor owner and boss.

Ivica Todorić spoke up about the matter in a post after the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji list published a shocking article about how much he and his family withdrew from Agrokor. As expected, Todorić has stated that all of that, and all that we see today, stems from the political need of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his government associates to try to hide their illegal, criminal acts surrounding the former Agrokor.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of July, 2019, here is his statement is transmitted (and translated) in its entirety:

''Over the past few weeks, my team and I have presented a whole host of new evidence on the criminal acts carried out by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, and his associates (the Borg Group and others, who've been very specifically mentioned), and we've presented what is, so far, the most comprehensive record of the crimes that took place within Agrokor. That document also has a number of high-profile addresses in the European Union in it.

The first thing I want to say to you, Mr. Plenković, is that you can see that Agrokor is not "PASSE".

Secondly, Mr. Plenković, the Agrokor affair and the Borg affair are the biggest corruption affairs in the history of this part of Europe, and you know that yourself today, as do the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, as does the region and the rest of Europe, they know it very well.

Thirdly, it's obvious that the fact that you've become a burden to yourself bothers you a lot, and with the same intensity, it probably bothers you a lot that you've become a political and legal bomb for the EU. If the content of ''findings'' published on the front page of a certain newspaper is true, then those findings, as I've already said, are fictitious criminal documents, perhaps also falsified, they're just your regular professionally created rubbish.

Everything we see today stems from the political need of Prime Minister Plenković and his associates in an attempt to try to hide their illegal, criminal acts. They're so afraid that they obviously don't understand how their attempts to conceal annihilation are failing because everything is on the table, and around the world, too.

The key thing I want to point out today is the fact that the money they're talking about for the fourth time, in what I have to admit is the most totally sensationalist manner, is my money, and I've paid all of the necessary taxes on it. Therefore, nobody ''took'' anything, that was my money, Becase Agrokor was a private company from 1989 until April 2017. I personally had private money there in accordance with the law, and I paid my taxes on that money correctly.

The Government of Croatia, governed by Andrej Plenković, is breaking down and is continuing with this fake news about me and my family, repeating the same untruths for the fourth time, to draw attention away from the enormous amounts of disturbing affairs, specifically from the recent HNS request for the dismissal of Minister Lovro Kuščević, and what's obviously for them a very unfavourable development of events surrounding the constitution of key EU bodies.

So, to repeat, I spent my private money, and Plenković and his associates have stolen someone else's money.

Obviously today in Croatia, under HDZ, not only can criminals nationalise and loot a private company with the use of an illegal law, but also decide who can do what with their own money which they've duly paid their taxes on.

I'm sure this won't go on for much longer.''

For more information on Agrokor (now Fortenova), Ivica Todorić and much more, follow our dedicated business and politics pages.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Agrokor's Downfall: Independent Expert's Report on Todorić is Damning

The life and times of the now somewhat infamous Ivica Todorić and family aren't as public as they once were. The Agrokor affair has died down, and the company itself is now Fortenova. An era has ended and a new chapter has begun, but that doesn't mean that the secrecy surrounding the Todorić dynasty is any less interesting.

As Novac/Zeljko Petrusic writes on the 30th of June, 2019, just what was discovered in the independent findings in the Agrokor case? The evidence of Todorić's enormous misuse of funds is damning.

''I'm Ismet Kamal, a member of the Institute of Certified Accountants of England and Wales... The County State Attorney's Office in Zagreb, the plaintiff, ordered me to report as an independent expert in the report on the prosecution of Ivica Todoric and others in Case No. K-DO-161/17. This case concerns Agrokor d.d.'s activities and other affiliated companies and individuals over a longer period, which ended when an extraordinary administration [procedure] was launched in Agrokor on April the 7th, 2017.

In reviewing the material and preparing this report, I was helped by the team from KPMG, who I supervised and led, and who reported to me about the work, which I'd reviewed. Members of my team are native Croatian speakers and speak fluent English, and some even German. The views expressed in this report are mine,'' stated expert Ismet Kamal from the Polish affiliate of the renowned audit firm KPMG at the beginning of the report of his expert accounting and financial findings in the Agrokor case.

The finding, or report, as he calls it, was concluded on the 19th of June, 2019 and consists of 390 pages. In another document, consisting of 126 pages, there are also other additions which make up the integral part of his findings. Otherwise, Ismet Kamal once worked with both KPMG Croatia and KPMG Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In his findings, this expert largely confirms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) auditor's findings in the audit findings for the financial year 2016, made at the order of Agrokor's extraordinary administration team. In this way KPMG' Poland's findings support all of the key charges of which Ivica Todorić and others have been accused, which involves a figure of more than one billion kuna.

To recall, at the end of 2017, the Zagreb prosecution initiated an investigation against Ivica Todorić, his sons Ante and Ivan, Hrvoje Balent, and their former associates at the very top of Agrokor's management.

They are charged with the criminal acts of abuse of trust in economic business and the counterfeiting of official documents, as well as violations of the obligation to conduct in keeping the books.

The focal point of the investigation concerns the lacunae of Agrokor's financial statements from 2006 to 2015 and the unfounded dividend payment to Ivica Todorić and his Dutch company Adria Group Holding BV. The expertise in this section is quite clear - Agrokor, in fact, had been operating at a loss throughout that entire period, so there was no place for dividend payments to owner Ivica Todorić. This is totals a massive 710 million kuna.

If Agrokor correctly applied international accounting standards in its financial statements, the annual financial statements would not be positive, but "cumulative accumulated losses on the day of the 31st of December, 2015, amounting to 3.4 billion kuna."

''Although Ivica Todorić was the ultimate owner of Agrokor, the irregularities I discovered in Agrokor's transactions with him, as well as in other circumstances, negatively affect the interests of other interest groups primarily made by creditors (and financial creditors and suppliers), as well as minority shareholders and other interest groups, such as employees. Some of my findings are that certain transactions have resulted in Ivica Todorić's benefit, to the detriment of the company, and in that regard I note that Agrokor as a joint stock company and its directors were subject to corporate legislation which, inter alia, requires directors to act in the best interest of the company.

The use of an inadequate accounting policy, which did not comply with International Financial Reporting Standards, resulted in misstatement in the financial statements. In this way, the liquidity and profitability of Agrokor were presented in a better light than they really were in and hence served as a shield to conceal the actual size of financial problems.'' stated the expert.

One of the most interesting parts of his expertise relates to Agrokor's subsidiary company in Switzerland, Agrokor AG, or, better to say, about the relationship between Ivica Todorić and his family with that particular company. The prosecution accuses Todorić of using Agrokor AG's funds for years for his private purposes, and having withdrawn at least 64 million kuna.

Agrokor AG was a company for centralised procurement for the entire Agrokor Group, in order to achieve better contractual terms when purchasing various commodities, as well as the possibility of using the more favourable credit lines offered by Swiss banks.

The flow of funds through that particular account was therefore large. Ivica Todorić, as well as members of his family, had been using this often, and partially using the means as if they were their personal cash, and in more way than one.

From 2009 to 2016, Ivica Todorić also received 9.2 million Swiss francs in cash from Agrokor AG AG, this is equal to about 55.6 million kuna.

As much as 8.8 million francs or 50 million kuna was spent on credit cards belonging to Ivica Todorić's family members, which was paid off by Agrokor AG, during the period from 2007 to 2016.

There were also 2.8 million francs, or about 19 million kuna of other private costs racked up by the Todorić family, an amount which was settled by Agrokor AG as a claim against the Croatian Agrokor.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics and business pages for much more.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Prosecution Given Approval to Investigate Two More Cases against Agrokor Owner

ZAGREB, May 12, 2019 - Prosecutors in London have been given the go-ahead to investigate the former owner of Croatia's Agrokor food and retail conglomerate, Ivica Todorić, in the Nexus case and in the case of sale-leaseback agreements between Agrokor and a US real estate fund, the N1 television channel says.

"Ivica Todorić could be questioned soon, just as he was questioned in the Agrokor case after his extradition from London," N1 said.

Todorić refused to waive his right under which each new procedure required approval from London, and his lawyers say they have no knowledge of any such approval being granted. Yet, prosecutors have notified them that a hearing will be held there, N1 said.

Croatia's Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić said recently that the investigation in the Agrokor case would most likely be completed by May 20, noting that it was a very complicated case. N1 recalled that after the completion of the investigation his office would have another three months to write an indictment.

The investigation of Ivica Todorić, his sons Ivan and Ante, and 12 Agrokor managers and auditors was initiated by the Zagreb County Prosecutor's Office in November 2017 on the suspicion that they had embezzled over one billion kuna (135 million euro).

Ivica Todorić was the only suspect in this case who was remanded in custody after his extradition from the United Kingdom. He was released on 7.5 million kuna (1 million euro) bail on November 20 last year and was banned from leaving Zagreb.

More Agrokor news can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Prosecutor Confirms Reports of Third Investigation in Agrokor Case

ZAGREB, March 25, 2019 - The Zagreb County Prosecutor's Office on Monday officially confirmed media reports that it has launched yet another, third investigation in the case of the Agrokor conglomerate which covers the company's former owner, Ivica Todorić, the former executive vice president for business and development, Piruška Canjuga, and the former director for facility investments, Ante Huljev.

The prosecutor's office said in a press release that the three are charged with abuse of office in doing business whereby they defrauded Agrokor and illegally gained an amount of 1,250,000 euros. It added that the offences were committed in November and December 2013 in Zagreb and in Cham, Switzerland.

The press release added that the prosecutor's office had launched an investigation against a 48-year old Austrian citizen on suspicion of abuse of trust in business operations in connection with the same offences, however, the decision on that investigation had not become final yet.

The Jutarnji List daily on Monday reported that the investigation is related to events in Agrokor in 2013 and sale-leaseback agreements between Agrokor and the US-based W. P. Carey real estate fund, with Agrokor selling property, warehouses, supermarkets and hypermarkets and then re-leasing them.

"In short, Agrokor sold its real estate to W. P. Carey and received tens of millions of euro of fresh capital while at the same time it took out long-term leases for the same properties. It is suspected that by doing so Agrokor in fact bypassed classic borrowing from commercial banks and was also able to state a lower level of indebtedness in its financial statements. The prosecution, however, is not incriminating the "sale-leaseback" agreements as such but rather the "leakage" of some of the money obtained in that process," the daily reported.

In late 2013, in a fifth transaction of this nature, Agrokor sold retail outlets to W. P. Carey in the amount of about 67 million euro and then immediately leased the same properties. On that occasion, Agrokor paid a company in Switzerland a hefty amount of 1.25 million euro to mediate and provide consultancy services in that deal.

An inspection of those transactions revealed that Ivica Todorić ordered that payment to the Swiss company. With alleged involvement of Piruška Canjuga, the order was processed by Ante Huljev, the Jutarnji List wrote, adding that the money was actually paid to an off-shore company in Switzerland, which was founded in such a way to hide the identity of the account's owner.

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

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Ivica Todorić: I've Not Been Destroyed, I'm Happier Than Ever

As tportal writes on the 24th of March, 2019, in just a few day's time, it will have been a full two years since the adoption of Lex Agrokor. Four and a half months since his extradition to Croatia after a year of fighting his corner in London, there are still no actual indictments against Ivica Todorić and his managers in the former Agrokor system. After having announced his desire to enter into politics, followed by a brief yet rather deafening silence, N1's guest was no less than the former owner of Agrokor, Ivica Todorić himself.

Asked to comment on the notion that he symbolised absolute power two years ago, built and owned the most successful company in the Balkans, and today he's a destroyed businessman awaiting his indictment, the ever smiling Ivica Todorić said he was in exactly the same form and acts very much in the same way as he did two, three, or four years ago.

''I'm doing more than I've been doing for the past forty years and I'm going to be honest, maybe I'm even happier today, a happier man than I used to be,'' a grinning Ivica Todorić told N1, saying that he was fighting for another thing now, and that is a fight against Croatia's corrupt system. He said that he was far from destroyed, quite the contrary.

For the last two years, the state has been preparing a trial against you, claiming that you committed crimes within Agrokor...

''I don't bother having anything to do with that, some accusations against me, what they're saying, and what they've tried to imply, it will be one serious legal document of this shameful Croatian state ... After thirty years, I left my company. In the last thirty years, everything remained within the company, all my mails, SMS's, accounts, all my transactions, all my contracts, everything remained within the company! Why not show us just one receipt?! What they did in Agrokor in a year, what crimes they were committing...'' questions Agrokor's former top dog.

Although DORH argues that the value of the company fell due to debts, Ivica Todorić claims that he has full evidence of the value of the company.

''What they made out of Agrokor today, I can't get 2.5 billion for the whole group. What destruction they've caused. When you talk about DORH and the process against me... Unbelievable. They claim I took some money. They know where the money went, where the accounts are. I took about 470 million euros in personal debt and gave it all to Agrokor. Agrokor was indebted to me, not me to Agrokor! And sure, it's like I've taken something...'' said Agrokor's ex boss.

He also said that Božo Petrov lured him to a meeting and he arrived like something out of the mafia in the night. "That was a weird meeting, I did't understand anything," Ivica Todorić said.

When asked if he was looking for money from the Croatian Government for Agrokor, he said: ''What do you mean? What money? Agrokor wasn't in trouble. It was only important for them that I came to be able to say that I came, so they could say that I was looking for something,''

He also said that none of the suppliers who worked with Agrokor had suffered any damage, but that was why he acted in the manner he did towards CNB/HNB's governer Boris Vujčić, about whom he had few nice words to say.

"He absolutely ruined me, he'd talked to some vulturous funds, gave them preferential information. You'll see what will still be done, what will be found out. That Vujčić has dragged Croatia to the bottom of the bottom. He put me, Agrokor, a thousand of our suppliers in position in which we had to pay more interest,'' said Ivica Todorić.

He also commented on the possible return of Antonio Alvarez III (Yes, that's really his name), who was among the very first to appear on Agrokor's then crumbling stage just after the passing of Lex Agrokor, allowing the government to intervene in the enfeebled company's affairs.

"This about them calling Mr. Alvarez and what they're doing, you can see that they're just lost, they don't know what they're doing, they don't know where they're going," he remarked.

Ivica Todorić believes that the Fortenova Group, which will soon be the ''new'' Agrokor, won't actually exist for years, nor will it be anything compared with Agrokor's entire business. He also believes that DORH is working to protect Andrej Plenković.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle, business and politics pages for more info on Ivica Todorić's entry onto the Croatian political scene and much more.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Ivica Todorić Discusses Mercator Purchase, Financial Situation, Agrokor

Ivica Todorić, the former Agrokor boss, thinks that the largest Croatian company, which once lay in his very hands, was destroyed by politics, and not a bad economic policy.

As VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2019, Ivica Todorić, now living back in Croatia following his return from the British capital, in which he spent one year passing through London courts and attempting to fight his cause, decided to receive a television crew from Slovenia in his home and comment on the purchase of Mercator by the then enfeebled Agrokor, as well as his view on what exactly went wrong.

At first, he made sure to point out that nobody loves Mercator as he does, and he honestly believed that Mercator's takeover was going to equal success for the Slovenian company, considering it a move which gave it the foundation it needed for its future development.

Asked if Agrokor would have survived if he hadn't purchased Mercator, he replied that everyone is constantly talking about some sort of debt, but Agrokor never had big any debts.

''I mean, they were large [debts] but they weren't in amounts that were not able to be handled," noted the ex Agrokor boss.

As stated, Ivica Todorić thinks that the largest Croatian company has been destroyed politics, not a bad economic policy.

Questions about life after his flight to London and his eventual return to Croatia were met with open answers. ''It isn't easy for me, I'm dependent on the help of friends,'' he added that they helped them collect the bail money needed to leave Remetinec prison. He speaks of having living costs that aren't particularly easy to cope with, a situation one could never have expected Ivica Todorić, who once graced the glossy pages of Forbes, to ever find himself in.

Although he is currently living in a huge property of 55,000 square metres, he made sure to justify it by emphasising the fact that that particular estate is divided up into what belongs to four families.

''This is my only piece of property. My part is worth about six million euros. I'm not trying to say that this isn't much, but I was once the richest man in an area consisting of 200 million people,''

When asked about the background of court proceedings, he replied that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian Government were behind it. He also announced his planned entry into politics.

''We'll set up a new party. I believe we'll do well and that we'll win a parliamentary majority,'' he stated.

In just five days, Ivica Todorić collected a million euros for his release from Remetinec prison.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics and lifestyle pages.


Click here for the original article by VLM on Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Agrokor: Has Gigantic Croatian Company Really Survived Crisis?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of December, 2018, Irena Weber, deputy of Fabris Peruško, the extraordinary commissioner for Agrokor, talked about what the company's plans for next year are, and whether or not Agrokor could become competitive on the market once again.

Has Agrokor survived the crisis, what are the plans for next year, and can the company become competitive on the market once again?

Irena Weber, deputy chief of the extraordinary commissioner in Agrokor, told HRT:

"We came to a rather complex situation, there was no time for adaptation and we immediately went to work and started communicating with the most important stakeholders in order to start the negotiation process as soon as possible, and for it to be completed by the legal deadline - July the 10th," Weber stated.

She pointed out that the results posted on a monthly basis show that all segments within Agrokor have good results. "This applies to the food sector, the agriculture sector, and to the retail sector. Each sector shows a strong recovery trend and we're expecting even better results in 2019," she said.

"Our focus until the end of the year is to set up the implementation plan in its entirety, and we have to carry out what our creditors have agreed and signed for, which means that it's necessary to transfer entire assets from the old group to a mirror society, to form a new group and to ensure that all operational processes are happening, to have a new group with new financial reports and a new ownership structure. The plan is to prepare a process that is in full swing by the end of the year and we expect the whole process to be completed in March 2019,'' the deputy extraordinary administrator said.

She added that all the suppliers were satisfied with how things are going as they had all now been paid.

"At present, the Agrokor Group has no outstanding and unpaid invoices, all have been paid in time in accordance with maturity dates, giving them [the suppliers] the freedom and ability to manage their financial statements," Weber said.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics and business pages for much more on Agrokor's progress, doing business in Croatia, the domestic political climate, as well as the general business and investment climate.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Will Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić Leave Government?

Neither Prime Minister Plenković nor Zdravko Marić himself have come out and actually denied the rumours about the Croatian finance minister's potential departure from the government.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of December, 2018, although no one has officially confirmed this, some claim that a quick analysis of the statements made by both Prime Minister Plenković and Zdravko Marić himself suggest that it is apparently ''almost certain'' that the longtime Croatian finance minister is set to leave his government position.

This information has begun circulating at a very inconvenient time and amid quite a bit of controversy, given the fact that Zdravko Marić's older sister has been promoted in HANFA, which is ironically the organisation investigating the finance minister for his activities during the height of Agrokor saga, which still isn't over. Good timing you say? You're right.

To quickly recall, this isn't the first time the Croatian finance minister has fallen out of favour in such a public manner. Marić used to work at Agrokor before taking on his government position, and as more and more came to light in regard to Agrokor's messy story, many began to suspect that he knew much more than he was letting on about the crimes which allegedly took place under the gigantic company's former owner, Ivica Todorić.

Despite having held strong to his statement of innocence and managing to survive this political test, ultimately retaining his position, the cloud of suspicion surrounding him never truly went away, it only engulfed Martina Dalić instead, the fomer deputy PM, who became a welcome distraction for the minister tormented by his past.

Regardless of the passage of time and the stepping down of Martina Dalić, the curse of the former Agrokor crisis has come knocking at Croatian finance minister's door once again, and this time it looks like he won't be getting off quite as lightly.

Upon being asked, Prime Minister Plenković's response has been scrutinised deeply, and for some it could be concluded that the Croatian finance minister's time is up, purely and simply because the he did not deny it when asked, writes Večernji list.

Similarly, Marić didn't deny it himself, either. The question now is not only who would potentially replace Marić in the government, but whether or not this could potentially be a chance for the reconstruction of the current government.

While unconfirmed, speculation suggests that Marić's departure from the government will take place next month, which would in itself be logical because he has already compiled a budget for next year.

The exact name of the person who either may or definitely replace Marić is still unknown, primarily because this information remains officially unconfirmed. But those speculating have suggested that it could be Tomislav Ćorić, the curent minister of energy and environmental protection, but sources close to the government claim that if he is doing his job well and that such a move would make no real sense. It would also be his third new ministry if it were to occur. So, it seems difficult to imagine Corić taking over Marić's job.

The speculation of potential names continues, despite the fact that the rumours of the current Croatian finance minister leaving his position early next year remain unconfirmed. 

Make sure to stay up to date on this situation and much more on the domestic and European political stage by following our dedicated politics page.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Ivica Todorić: I'm Entering Politics Because Croatia is in Awful Position

As 24sata writes on the 5th of December, 2018, Ivica Todorić, who was recently released from Remetinec prison following his eyebrow-raising payment of a million euros in bail, which he said was paid by friends, has decided to become politically active. On Wednesday, the 5th of December, 2018, he announced his political engagement once again and used the opportunity to criticise Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian Government, according to a report from N1.

We've translated his statement in full below:

''Dear all,

Today, following two years of Andrej Plenković's government, the Republic of Croatia is socially and economically completely destroyed, devastated, we have chaos and a dictatorship, we're seeing the destruction of institutions every day, we're the worst member of the EU, we're last on the list by all indicators, we're at the very bottom!

Today, the Republic of Croatia isn't a country of knowledge, it isn't a country [which respects] the rule of law, it isn't a country which cares about its demographic status, the economic position of its citizens, or the state itself.

At the same time, two years have passed since the launch of the plundering of Agrokor, a monstrous criminal project unseen in history in this part of the EU.

That is precisely the best example of corrupt antinational power, which has plagued the future of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia and has thrown the state on its knees.

I fought alone, and I'm still fighting [armed] with the truth and the facts about the crimes which were carried out over my company, my associates, and over me.

Throughout my life I've been giving to my homeland to Croatia, through the Agrokor project, building a modern, competitive industry that eventually became the largest in this part of the EU.

But now I look upon this dictatorship of Prime Minister Plenković, who pitilessly continues to inflict tremendous damage upon the Republic of Croatia, and who is destroying our homeland and its future.

Exactly because of the desire to change this catastrophic position of the Republic of Croatia, I decided to become politically active!

We in the Republic of Croatia need to gather all the potential of every individual to make the best use of our national wealth - forests, water, land, and our sea, in order to realise our national interests in the most functional way.

The Republic of Croatia must get started and become a country of knowledge that respects the rule of law. Severe, serious reforms and investment cycles need to be initiated literally overnight as [otherwise] it will be too late. Croatia needs to be transformed into the construction site for the future of our children and all citizens.

I'm sure that we will eradicate this corrupt, incompetent, dictatorial authority - to ensure a better future for our homeland of Croatia and for our children.

With respect,

Ivica Todorić''

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page to stay up to date with the Croatian political scene and all of the former Agrokor boss' political moves.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Ivica Todorić's Lawyer Speaks Out: "He'll Decide What He Does Next"

Ivica Todorić's attorney, Jadranka Sloković, clarified a few things for N1 on the 21st of November, 2018, with regard to what can be expected next in Ivica Todorić's case, as well as on his planned political engagement, which he himself recently announced, much to the surprise of most.

Ivica Todorić is on parole, who can carry out precautionary measures?

"He'll carry them out himself, because he has to obey them - he has to be at his place of residence, in Zagreb.''

Todorić apparently has the right to free movement in Zagreb, but he mustn't leave the city without the explicit permission of the judge, and he's also had to hand over his passport.

''They will check all of that. He's too much of a well-known person to be able to just go anywhere," explained Sloković.

How is the investigation going, when can we expect the indictment?

"So far, between 60 and 70 witnesses have been questioned," stated the lawyer, which means that there are ''more witnesses than were initially scheduled for the investigation." Witness examination is, therefore, at an end. Problems could arise however, due to the situation being to do with a foreign company.

"We really think that this will be a problem, from knowledge of the language to knowledge of the regulations, which must be applied to certain situations,'' explained Sloković. She added that the result of the assessment is not expected to be arrived to particularly quickly, either.

"It's been announced, and a decision may have been reached now, to extend the investigation for another six months, which means that the investigation will last for at least eighteen months, after which a decision will be made as to whether an indictment will be filed or not, and the indictment may be brought by the prosecutor one month after the investigation has been completed, meaning that that period can be extended for another three months, so there's still a long way to go to the indictment.''

"As for the witnesses who've been questioned up to now - given the fact that this is a non-public investigation, I can't go into [can't discuss] the testimonies, but our stance is that the testimonies don't burden Ivica Todorić in any way whatsoever."

Was custody after extradition necessary, what do you have to say about the bail fee?

"Our position was that no detention was necessary and that everything could be solved with the precautionary measures that are applicable in this case, however, the court's view was that prison was needed, and that could be replaced by bail and precautionary measures. Essentially it was the same decision as that of the court in London,'' explained Sloković, adding that a lower bail amount and different precautionary measures were involved.

Ivica Todorić announced his political engagement, yet before him lies a lengthy court process?

"We still don't know in what way this process will be completed. No matter how optimistically it started, the question is what will be proven during the investigation - it's not certain that an indictment will be filed."

As for his announced political engagement, Sloković stated that such a move is entirely Todorić's decision.

"In one thing he's right - despite Agrokor's difficult destiny, he created respectable firms, there's no burned ground left behind him. He definitely has certain qualities and what he decides to do now is his choice," concluded Jadranka Sloković.

Keep up with all things related to Ivica Todorić here.


Click here for the original interview by N1 Hrvatska

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