Thursday, 21 February 2019

British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish Discusses Potential No Deal Brexit

Andrew Dalgleish talks about the unwanted yet still possible No Deal outcome, what this means for Croats in the UK, what it could mean for Brits in Croatia, and how, if at all, Brexit will affect Croatia's tourist industry.

While many British citizens in Croatia remain worried for their future in the country, rest assured that we at TCN, along with the British Embassy in Zagreb, will continue to do our absolute best to keep you informed of any changes, should they occur at all, to your rights to residence, access to healthcare, the labour market, and your access to Croatia's social security system.

We have already written numerous articles on what Brexit is likely to mean when it comes to British citizens living in Croatia with regulated status (biometric residence permit of either temporary (privremeni) or permanent (stalni) residence (boravak), which was your right to claim as EU citizens. I'd like to preface this by saying that there is no need to do anything but remain calm despite the sheer lack of information provided to you, we're fully aware of your concerns and will seek to assure you as best as we can along the way.

MUP has assured TCN in private correspondence with me that British citizens, even in the unwanted event of a No Deal Brexit, who have a valid residence permit of some kind, will not be seen as illegal persons living on the territory of the Republic of Croatia on the 29th of March this year. Please click here for the full article on that, as well as ways to safeguard and prepare, here for MUP's statement to Balkan Insight, and here for Paul Bradbury's meeting with Andrew Dalgleish, the UK Ambassador to Croatia, which took place a few weeks ago. Should the UK leave with May's deal on the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, click here to find out what that means for you.

Although the following article doesn't talk quite enough about the rightful worries and fears of Croatia's resident Brits, the number of which is well under 1,000, Andrew Dalgleish sits down to discuss what a potential No Deal Brexit might mean should it occur, and sought to reassure that British tourists, who are among the most numerous European visitors to Croatia, will continue to come.

As Mark Thomas/Slobodna Dalmacija writes on the 19th of February, 2019, before Britain's (planned) exit from the European Union scheduled for March the 29th this year, we talked with UK Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Andrew Dalgleish, to find out what the future of the always positive relations between Croatia and the UK are set to become.

"Croatian citizens living in the UK shouldn't worry if Britain leaves the European Union without agreement because the [British] Government has taken all the measures to protect [EU] citizens [living in the UK at the time of exit]," the ambassador stated.

The British Government ''is making a huge effort to reach an agreement'', and the outcome of Brexit for Great Britain has two scenarios, at least in this phase of negotiations; the UK leaving the EU, should it continue to stand by its current position, either with or without agreement. Whatever the solution turns out to be, it will bring new questions, as well as new solutions, in terms of citizens' rights.

If Britain leaves the European Union on March the 29th, how will it affect the status of Croatian nationals living in the UK in the case of a No Deal Brexit?

Since the beginning of the negotiations around Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has been very clear on this issue: Citizens should not be bargaining chips, the lives of people and their needs are what is really important here. Then, when we came to the end of the negotiations, the prime minister said that regardless of what would happen [regarding the UK's withdrawal from the bloc], Croats and other citizens of European Union countries (EU27) who are legal residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will basically hold the same status and enjoy broadly the same rights as they did before the 29th of March, 2019.

Croats should not immediately see any change in their current status in the UK. This is a real indicator of how much Britain truly does appreciate the citizens of other European Union countries living in the UK. No matter what other EU members do in return, the prime minister has been very clear on this matter.

After March the 29th, EU citizens will be able to live normally in the UK, enjoying continued unimpeded access to all the social, health and education services just as they have until now, and the direction further negotiations will take is yet to be seen. There will be procedures to explain to citizens what the futre will look like after Brexit and we want to let them know that we do care about everyone.

At this point there are two possible Brexit scenarios, "Brexit with an agreement" and "Brexit without an agreement", and whatever option is accepted will affect what will happen on March the 29th...

Yes, the British Government is absolutely devoted, with all of its efforts, to reach an agreement. How exactly this arrangement will look remains to be seen. However, it is crystal clear to the government that reaching an agreement is the best way to leave [the EU].

Also, we as the government are highly responsible, which means that we have to prepare for this second scenario [No Deal Brexit] that we wouldn't want, but which could happen. That's why we want to reassure Croatian citizens living in the UK that they don't have to worry if Britain does leave without a deal, because the [British] Government has taken measures to reassure them that they do care about them.

Agreement or not, how will Brexit affect your role as [UK] Ambassador?

Of course, it's already influenced my ambassador's role. I was all set to be the ambassador before the referendum was actually held, I actually arrived in Zagreb three weeks after the referendum. Of course, that means all my preparations changed overnight. But Brexit is real and we've got to face it.

Relations between Great Britain and Croatia have lasted longer outside the European Union than they have within it. Brexit will certainly be a challenge because many of the questions related to our two peoples are being solved at a table in Brussels.

Since we [Britain] will not be sitting at the table in Brussels again, we will make even more of an effort in the future to get London and Zagreb to directly negotiate, more than we did before, so there's a chance there.

How are the negotiations with the Croatian Government progressing, if an agreement [between the UK and the EU] is not reached, and what about the rights of British nationals in Croatia?

Prime Minister May was very clear at the very beginning of negotiations that the [British] Government would take care of the rights of European Union citizens in the UK after March the 29th, so we hope that other [EU] Member States will act in the same way.

The European Commission has stated that it hopes that, after Brexit, all EU member states will be ''generous'' and offer British citizens good conditions, however, each of them will do so in their own way. Discussions are being conducted not only with Croatia, but with other EU member states. Of course, the Croatian Government, as well as the British Government, is hoping for a scenario in which the UK withdraws from the EU with a deal.

It's very important to point out that in the case of a No Deal Brexit, there are many technical questions that require answers, some of which are what it will mean to be a legal citizen (resident) here, to gaining the right to health care, and many other issues.

All of this requires very demanding preparation and this is what we're doing at this moment with the Croatian Government.

Do you think Croatian tourism will suffer a sort of shock after Brexit?

"There is no intent on either side of causing problems in people's lives, going on holiday is a natural thing that people need. No government in these negotiations has said that obstacles should be put in place in order to make things for the tourist industry more difficult in the future. Of course, if there's an agreement, then every side and every country knows where their place is.

In the event of a No Deal Brexit, we must take care to resolve all of the technical issues and that the British [continue to] come to Croatia on holiday, which is the intention of both Croatia and the UK. I don't see the probability of any problem, as long as we're all doing our jobs in the meantime.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know about Brexit and Croatia and what might alter for you by following our dedicated politics page.


Click here for the original article by Mark Thomas on Slododna Dalmacija

Monday, 4 February 2019

From London to Croatia: A Foreign Teen's Adventures in Zagreb

The top three questions I get asked to this day by Uber drivers and colleagues alike are, ''What do you think of Zagreb?'', ''Why did you come here?', and ''What do you do here?''

In a brazen attempt to address the final question, I thought long and hard about what I could expose, what crazy stories I could tell, without telling too much. A few ideas came to mind that perfectly encapsulate my last year here, shedding light on what a foreign teen with no connections can experience when you give yourself up to chance.

From meeting strangers in the night to accidentally taking the wrong train to Budapest, I make up for the lost time spent in my room in England by playing into Zagreb’s strengths - drinking, socialising and working. It got to the point where I asked my friend “What I should I do tonight, I have nowhere to go!” and she responded crassly “How about going to that place that, you know, you PAY FOR ON A MONTHLY BASIS?, that little place called your apartment!”.

She gives good advice sometimes. I’ve managed to mould something out of nothing here and with little language skills thanks to those around me. I want to hammer that in, not at all to brag but because having read post after post in expat forums and online about “I want to travel to X place but I’m afraid of not making friends, I’m afraid of being lonely or stuck”, I can’t help but yell “It’s completely possible”.

One night I like to remember in particular, I found myself sitting tipsily in the corner of a karaoke bar with little recollection of the journey there. I was sat with people I had met only twice before (coffee once and that New Year’s night), drinking a decent 15 kuna glass of vodka and coke while periodically stealing sips of the friend next to me’s beer. He noticed eventually and bought me my own.

We were in an edgy and low-key karaoke bar, called Pračka (Croatian for sling or catapult), hidden in the centre of Zagreb. Let me clarify, I had little recollection of the journey there, in part due to my drunken state, but mainly because the bar was located on some street that looked like all other streets around it, at the bottom of a block of flats, indicated only by the entry door - a big, black metal door covered in stickers. I’m not sure how people manage to spot this sober let alone three Tomislav beers in to a night out.

I’ve come to have a few stand out memories of Pračka (Edit: I’m still unable to locate the bar on my own). One night was spent with a tram obsessive, a girl, and a man I’ve come to nickname Berlusconi. It was my first introduction to turbo folk and first lesson in how to awkwardly sing and dance along to a song you don’t know - a very important lesson for all new expats! As a result one of favourite folk songs is Kad Sam Bio Mlad by Riblja Corba.

The second was at an office party. Late into the night, I was waiting at the front of the queue for the bathroom. In an instant one of the doors threw open in a loud clamour. Out of the doors fell a couple, mid doggy style, who slammed their backs against the wall of the bathroom in full view of the entire queue and part of the club. We all burst into laughter and let me tell you, in this whole scene the couple were not phased (only a little surprised at the fall) and did not let it ruin their.. moment.

They promptly glanced at the crowd and closed the doors once again. Slightly taken aback, I accepted it for what it was and carried on with my queue waiting and got back to our group. The next singer was up, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw who rushed onto the stage but the same girl going at it in the ladies. A little unprepared she hurried onto the stage fixing her hair and proceeded to absolutely kill the song with the whole crowd singing with her. Girl, I salute your bravery.

What else have I done, well I've been travelling. First to Spain and by the time this is up I'll be bathing in the thermal baths of Budapest. What I love about Zagreb in addition to everything else I ramble about - it's a great location for taking a bus or BlaBla car around Europe for an affordable price.

Gone are the days of scraping together £200 for an all inclusive holiday to somewhere in Spain (Inbetweeners style) drinking as many cocktails as you can at the breakfast buffet to make the most of the all-inclusiveness. A friend of mine will often take a day trip into Italy when she has the time off work, while another friend just last month came back from a 5 day ski trip in Bosnia.

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Turning up the notch on the cringe, in true Mira style, trying to answer this question I found myself returning to the question of “Why do I do any of this?”. As a believer in personal privacy online, I find it difficult to write these (not so) monthly posts about my experiences. For the majority, I hope at the very least they are entertaining to read.

For others, I hope they help explain my situation, who I was and what I think about life in Zagreb. But for myself, I must remind myself why I write. I write for the young girl that I was. Hiding in my room, afraid of the world and afraid of giving life a serious chance, but yet desperately yearning for an escape. Typical teenager.

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I remember being fourteen trawling through sites about homestays abroad, how to get onto an exchange program, and I was desperate to get out into the world, Japan, Spain anywhere that would offer me excitement. I dreamt of swimming across the channel to France (if David Walliams could do it for charity, then surely I could do it too!). I thought about how I’d pack up my belongings in zip-lock bags so they’d float alongside me as I swam. I dreamt about running away to the eurostar and becoming a lowly waitress in Spain.

Sixteen came and I had been spending my time learning Japanese (you were right mom, it was just a phase). Planning how, when and where to go to become an English teacher there. Eighteen came and universities abroad were the topic of my free time. I write to give hope to the fourteen year old me cooped up in her room dreaming of suicide and life in another world. I write for my friend who, just last year, overcame some of his most fundamental fears and countered his psychological struggles (such as OCD) and travelled around Europe with a group of strangers totally off his own back. Creating memories I can’t help but admire. We were all typical teengers once!

I fantasized until I was finally met with the chance to leave. And so, in a rush against the clock, making the most of these teen years while I can, this last year has been a cacophony of unusual experiences interwoven with shifts at my equally unusual workplace, to create memories I’ll continue to tell.

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Soon you'll be able to read more at, so watch this space!

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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

Sunday, 30 December 2018

From Clubbing to Camden to Chicken Farming in Croatia, Leaving London on a Hunch

From the booming nightlife of one of the world’s major cities, to helping my mother raise GMO free chickens on a family farm, it’s not the transition in life many young adults would willingly take.

In my introduction to Total Croatia News, I mentioned leaving the fast paced and opportunity “haven” of London instead to start afresh in a small village of the Croatian Zagrebačka region. By small village, I mean one street with a milk depot, several farms and a café bar. There is one bus that runs through at 6am connecting you to the nearest big town but returning is near impossible without a car. In short, I decided to move as I thought I had a sign from the universe to do so.

It sounds more than crazy to move based on a suspected “hunch” to a place famed for war and political corruption, and I was stubborn up until the last minute. There were many reasonable factors that influenced my decision to leave and many just as reasonable telling me to stay: Croatia offered a safer way of life but was lacking in professional opportunity. I was young and it could be a “life changing experience” but I also did not know the language or have a clear plan ahead.

Despite the constant back and forth, the ultimate choice to plunge headfirst into Croatian life was based on instinct and the fact that I thought (half jokingly, but probably more seriously than I will admit) the universe was guiding me to so do. It was this gut instinct combined with the phrase “heck, why not” that dictated most of my decision making process, and later adopting from my mother the philosophy of “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there” that guided me to where I am today.

After my family moved, I stubbornly stayed behind with my Grandmother in a small hippie village of East Sussex. Christmas time was upon us and I was desperate to see my family over the festive period. Broke from travelling around the UK and London visiting friends at university, tired of vegan food in the village, I decided to browse online at my potential options in Croatia. To figure out what all the fuss was about.

I would take my laptop to Costa coffee most days to get my daily dose of free wifi and I scoured the internet for university and job opportunities in Zagreb. After a long argument with my mum over the phone about what I will do in the coming future (and subsequent existential crisis in the corner of the cafe with a mocha and brownie in hand), I booked my one way flight to Zagreb Airport and breathed a sigh of relief that I’ll be able to see my family over the Christmas holidays.

I had the intentions of returning and to begin my university degree, but that was until I heard back about one of my job applications in Zagreb. I had been invited for an interview!

Exchanging emails with the representative, eventually we settled on a date. The day after my plane would land, I would have an interview. I sat in the chair surrounded by the miasma of coffee and pondered the success. After months of applications to various jobs in England without success, here, I had an interview ready only a few days after application. Living in England on my own I had encountered many roadblocks and became overcome with loneliness and defeat, but any moves I made directed towards Croatia seemed to fair well with relative ease. I took it as a sign, and realised I had to give Croatia a serious chance when I arrived.

At the time before moving, I saw London as the pinnacle. The huge transport network would take me anywhere I needed to be, which, at my age just meant Pryzm or XOYO. I had my established group of friends and knew more or less how the country functioned - Never count on Southern Rail, Wetherspoons for cheap drinks, and Peckham is the bit you go around. In short, I understood and saw a convenience in London I didn’t want to walk away from.

I am still infatuated with this convenience. I can’t deny that London is a more modern, booming city and I often find myself missing the variety and ease of access it had to offer that Croatia so poorly lacks in. What Croatia does offer in place of convenience for me though, is a sense of belonging. With a strong Russian background, there were many times I simply did not understand or connect with the British culture. I felt the same kind of “click” in Zagreb, as I did when visiting Moscow or our hometown of Yaroslavl.

This “hunch” or feeling of rightness is what kept Croatia in the back of my mind as a legitimate option despite having no real foundations there, only the experience of a few family holidays. So when everything fell into place while preparing to visit, and subsequently when I arrived, I couldn’t help but feel like the universe was screaming at me to go.

On the plane ride over, it was my first time flying totally alone. Nervous and self conscious, I made sure I read every sign and checked my bags over and over. I was petrified. Then on the second plane, connecting me from Warsaw to Zagreb, I had the pleasure of meeting a young Croatian man from Rijeka. We chatted about life in London where he had been working and he prepared me for life in Croatia, giving me advice on the best coffee spots too. We continued our conversation all the way up until we had to depart at the exit of the airport.

I got a taste for what was to come. I felt at ease waiting for my ride, and quietly thanked the universe for showing me what life can bring. What is possible when you give yourself completely up to chance.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Croatian ICT Company to Take North America After London and Vienna

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of November, 2018, Business Intelligence (Poslovna inteligencija), the leading company for the implementation of analytical and strategic ICT consulting in Southeast Europe, is planning to take its business across the Atlantic to the North American continent, most likely to Canada, in a move which would be the next big step for the Croatian ICT company following the opening of their offices in two major European cities, London and Vienna.

The bold plan was confirmed by the president of the management of the aforementioned Croatian ICT company, Dražen Oreščanin, who Poslovni Dnevnik caught up with while he was on an official trip to Canada, where the Croatian-Canadian Economic Forum in Toronto was held. He was heading there as part of visit of numerous Croatian businessmen, which had already been reported by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
What are your estimates of the possible effects of the visit of our economic delegation to Canada?

Every step we made towards developing cooperation is a good step, and can make moves. During this visit, several activities were held - a forum with the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, B2B meetings with interested Toronto companies, a meeting with the local community of Croatian emigrants in Toronto, a visit to the Kitchener Technology Centre, Waterloo University, and two hi-tech companies in Toronto. Existing contacts are interesting, and time will show whether or not it will result in some specific work.
What are the impressions on strengthening economic cooperation?

I think there's a mutual interest, the current commodity trade is fairly small, and the numbers grow year after year. The new CETA deal makes it much easier to trade between the European Union and Canada, and the very fact that HGK and the ambassadors of both countries are actively involved in the organisation of such a visit speaks of mutual interest and great potential.
What do the Canadians generally say about the business climate and the benefits of starting a business and investing in our country?

The conversations I mainly led were focused on potential opportunities that we as a Business Intelligence have on the Canadian market, but I didn't  talk to my interlocutors about just those topics. Recently, the Canadian company Constellation took over IN2, one of the largest IT companies in Croatia, so it's obvious that investment interest exists.
What is the potential for further expansion of the company on the Canadian market, as well as cooperation with the companies over there?

I certainly see the potential, I hope that some of the conversations we've had to turn into some concrete opportunities and work. We're certainly planning to open up a company on the North American continent after we open companies in London and Vienna. What I've seen during this visit is truly exceptional and very competitive when compared to other places we're contemplating in the United States. We'll probably make a final decision based on the volume of work we have in a specific part of the US and Canada, and here, the potential for a company like Business Intelligence is definitely big.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on this Croatian ICT company, other various companies from up and down the country and their services.


Click here for the original article/interview by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 15 November 2018

ATP Finals: Čilić Comes Back to Win Against Isner, Djokovic Next

In the 2nd round of the Guga Kuerten group of the ATP Finals at London's O2 Arena, Croatia's best tennis player Marin Čilić defeated American John Isner 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 to keep his hopes alive for the semi-finals.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Despite Recovery, Todorić's Legacy and Agrokor's Debts Paint Bleak Picture

Ivica Todorić has returned to Croatia after more than a year in London, having landed on the territory of a country in which he is no longer the owner of the largest regional company. Exactly one year after handing himself in in the British capital, living under the watchful eye of the Metropolitan police and after an agonisingly long court battle, Agrokor's former untouchable main man returned to his homeland utterly powerless. A far cry from the not so distant reality Todorić once enjoyed, having once owned his own private island, Smokvica.

As Jutarnji/Vanja Nezirovic writes on the 9th of November, 2018, unlike back on the 10th of April 2017, when he signed Lex Agrokor, which activated the law to allow the Croatian Government to step in and rescue Agrokor, and unlike in the autumn of the same year when he temporarily "emigrated" to London, Agrokor's largest single owner is now Russia's Sberbank with a 39.2 percent stake. The settlement was a long and painfully complex process, however, in order to execute such a settlement, creditors, primarily financial lenders, had to write off a large part of their claims, around 60 percent.

Namely, the exact amount and percentage of the final write-off of the creditor's claims will be known at the time when Agrokor is sold. To recall, on April the 10th, 2017, Agrokor had 7.7 billion euro in debt, of which about 1.5 billion euro was debt within the group, which means that the debt to third parties actually amounted to about 6.2 billion euro.

If we know that the framework calculations of Agrokor's value are projected at about 2.3 billion euro, this would mean that the creditors, primarily financially (based on this nominal projection), were forced to give up an enormous total of about 4 billion euro. This was the price of the survival of Agrokor, which for now, following these write-offs, has a debt of 1.06 billion euro in so-called roll up loans.

Agrokor's medium and large suppliers have so far averaged 60 percent of their claims for goods and services, were paid 500 million euro in cach for old debts, with 46 percent of them having a return of between 80 and 100 percent. When the rest of the debt is paid out over four years, and when part of Agrokor's property is converted, their return will amount to about 80 percent. The bonds' return rate ranges between 40 percent and 80 percent, while the largest number of domestic and foreign financial institutions and other creditors will have an average return on demand of up to 20 percent.

At the time of signing Lex Agrokor, Todorić's Agrokor Group was blocked in the amount of 3 billion kuna, and it was naturally expected that this dire situation could lead to Croatia into a short-term recession. The possibility of Agrokor's bankcruptcy could have, according to CNB/HNB (Croatian National Bank) projections, lead to several smaller banks entering into a very dangerous situation indeed, yet while the banking system luckily remained stable, the losses bigger banks suffered were felt almost immediately.

Even with the implementation of a specially regulated bankruptcy proceeding through Lex Agrokor, several contract suppliers ended up in bankruptcy or having to undertake pre-bankruptcy proceedings, some stabilised the recapitalisation of third parties, some are still awaiting ownership and business restructuring, but a stronger economic and social shock was thankfully avoided.

Today, Agrokor's debt has been reduced to levels that should be viable, things are generally much more stable and the company is expected to return to normal function in 2019. The results of companies like Jamnica and Ledo, are once again very good, Konzum seems to be more than just recovering, but some other companies from within the large Agrokor umbrella, like Velpro and Konzum BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina) are still very vulnerable.

It's also clear that agricultural companies such as Vupik will need some more time to recover properly, but the overall picture of the company today is much more healthy than it was a year ago, thanks to the current extraordinary commissioner, Fabris Peruško.

That means that the Croatian economy, a much more than significant part of which is made up by Agrokor, has gone from being under grave threat, to being more stable, more safe, and more competitive.

Want to keep up with the latest news and detailed information on Ivica Todorić and his swapping of London for Remetinec prison? Make sure to follow everything here.


Click here for the original article by Vanja Nezirovic for Jutarnji List

Friday, 9 November 2018

From Forbes to Europol: Charges Against Ivica Todorić Reign High

The list of charges against Ivica Todorić are as incredible as they are damning, but will this just be another situation without any real end?

As tportal/Zoran Korda writes on the 8th of November, 2018, just ten days after the British decided to finally extradite Ivica Todorić to Croatia to face trial for his alleged crimes within the giant Agrokor Group, he arrived in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

After spending the night in Remetinec prison following a regular Croatia Airlines flight to Franjo Tudjman Airport from London Heathrow, the former owner of Agrokor should now go before the investigative judge of the Zagreb County Court, faced with allegations of malversations that damaged his former company for a massive 1.6 billion kuna.

Let's take a look back at just what the charges against Ivica Todorić are.

During the first investigation which launched back in October last year, Todorić, along with his sons Ante and Ivan and another dozen former senior Agrokor managers and auditors, are suspected of multiple criminal acts in doing business, including the forgery of documents.

The main point of the investigation was focused on deception involving financial statements over the last ten years. The initial suspicion was based on the results of a PwC audit, which found that by concealing the real costs and debts, and by overestimating the company's gains, Todorić unlawfully paid the dividend.

This came to a total of 720 million kuna, which was apparently paid to Todorić, more specifically his Dutch company Adria Group Holding BV, for quite a number of years.

Todorić is also suspected of misusing Agrokor's money for the launch of an initial public shares offer (IPO), for collecting fresh capital and listing Agrokor on the London Stock Exchange. The audit found that a sum of about two billion kuna intended for this purpose was mostly used to cover his personal expenses.

The former owner of Agrokor is also charged for withdrawing money from Agrokor to finance his personal financial operations. He is therefore suspected of having embezzled around 650 million kuna in complex financial transactions for the purchase of Agrokor's shares by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

A loan of 192 million kuna, approved by Agrokor, was used for interest payments for PIK (payment in kind) bonds, issued back in 2014 for Mercator's takeover. Todorić was formally obliged to return this borrowed money from the future dividends of Agrokor. However, the money was never returned, and the loans didn't present themselves in the balance, but were instead classified as cash.

There is also a suspicion of him having organised the undercover financing of the company through a monopoly business in order to attempt to properly conceal the actual debt situation. In this way, the overall figure was falsely cut by as much as 1.5 billion kuna.

A second investigation was launched in December last year, and that relates to illegal loans which the private investment fund Nexus Private Equity gave to Agrokor back in 2016, through the Nexus company.

In the ongoing legal proceedings so far, the prosecution has examined 16 out of 17 witnesses and can't actually get to the last of them all because the individual in question lives in the Netherlands and is a citizen of that country.

Still to come is the very extensive financial and auditing expertise carried out by the KPMG audit firm, which should be completed by the end of the year.

While it has been reported that Todorić is set to remain in custody for now, owing to an apparent ''flight risk'', the belief still remains that Todoric will likely await his actual trial in freedom, as there is no longer any danger of him or others influencing any witnesses.

Want to keep up with the charges against Ivica Todorić now he's back in Croatia? Stay up to date here.


Click here for the original article by Zoran Korda for tportal

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Martina Dalić Comments on Ivica Todorić's Extradition

People often say that less is more, and that can apply to words, too. Former Economy Minister Martina Dalić, once one of the most powerful women in Croatia, was short and not so sweet in her comments about Ivica Todorić's extradition from London to Croatia to face trial for his alleged crimes in Agrokor.

Martina Dalić is a controversial character who was heavily involved in the entire Agrokor saga from start to finish. Close to Agrokor's extraordinary administration proceedings from the beginning, the former Deputy Prime Minister has been shrouded in suspicion for a while, particularly since the discovery of her having used a simple Hotmail email account to discuss extremely sensitive matters with other involved individuals, known as the Hotmail Affair, which saw her leave her position at Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's side.

One thing that stands out when it comes to Dalić is Todorić's previous insisting, via his now somewhat infamous blog, that she had been sending him and his family members threatening emails and messages, in an apparent attempt, in his words, to blackmail him into singing Lex Agrokor, a law which in itself, despite having allowed the government to intervene and rescue Agrokor as a company, boasts more question marks than it does clear answers.

Of course, people ignored Todorić's often rather bizarre allegations which he had a tendency to fire at all and sundry across the political scene in Croatia, claiming Plenković had given him chocolates at midnight was one of the stranger statements. When the Hotmail Affair raised its ugly head, however, people recalled what Todorić had written about all those months ago online, and although she allowed DORH to investigate all of the electronic devices she uses for communication, a move though which she proved her innocence at least in this matter, nobody was laughing anymore and the seeds of doubt about Martina Dalić were planted in the minds of many.

Ivica Todorić was finally extradited to Croatia last night following the British decision to reject his appeals and push forward with his removal from the United Kingdom, where he'd been living for the past year under the watchful eye of the British authorities after handing himself in to the metropolitan police and paying a hefty bail fee. Todorić spent the night in Remetinec prison in Zagreb, and you can read more about what happened last night here.

Martina Dalić was of course asked for her thoughts and opinions on Todorić's extradition to Croatia, and she was in no real rush to provide a response. In fact her lack of desire to even discuss the matter was surprising given her level of involvement in the Agrokor case. With the ex Agrokor boss' extradition happening so soon after the publishing and promotion of her brand new book on the matter, a book which has also been met with appreciation and disgust across the board, one would assume she'd have quite a bit to say.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of November, 2018, insistant journalists urged her to comment on the extradition of Ivica Todorić to Croatia, and Dalić was very short.

Her obvious lack of desire caused journalists to insist on her providing a response to the extradition from London, about which she was extremely short and blunt:

"That's not something I'd be interested in," she said.

As Novi List reports, Martina Dalić is currently in Opatija where she is part of a panel entitled "Economic Reforms: A solution or a problem?". Agrokor's current extraordinary commissioner, Fabris Peruško, is also participating in the event.

Want to keep up with more news about Todorić's case now he's back in Croatia? Make sure to stay up to date with our news page.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Extradition of Ivica Todorić: What Happened Last Night?

Exactly one year after handing himself over to the British authorities at Charing Cross Station in London, the extradition of Ivica Todorić to Croatia to face trial for his alleged crimes in Agrokor, has finally happened.

To briefly recall, Ivica Todorić handed himself over to the British authorities following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant by Croatia. The metropolitan police then detained Todorić as the warrant prescribed, before releasing him on bail after he paid the £100,000 fee. He continued to live at relative liberty in London for the next year, fighting his looming extradition.

Earlier this year, the British rejected Todorić's appeals and approved his extradition, and exactly one year to the day of his first contact with the London police, the British extradited him, on a regular Croatia Airlines flight, back to the Croatian capital, where the Croatian police awaited his arrival.

Well known N1 journalist Hrvoje Krešić tweeted yesterday afternoon that Todorić was in the process of transition and that he was expected in Croatia soon.

As Index writes on the 7th of November, 2018, at 16:45, HRT announced that Ivica Todorić had been seen at London Heathrow Airport.

The regular Croatia Airlines flight from London Heathrow was delayed as boarding took a while, and Todorić was the first to enter the aircraft with his police escorts. He was separated from other passengers, and his wife Vesna Todorić was not allowed to sit next to him.

His wife, Vesna, who had to leave her husband upon landing in Zagreb, was asked how she felt. She responded, visibly shaken: ''How would you feel if you were extradited? He's an innocent man. My husband is innocent, he hasn't stolen anything. I'm going home, and he's going to jail.''

Todorić himself remained calm, and was allegedly reading British newspapers and drinking Jana water on board. Although filming and taking photographs on the flight was strictly forbidden, upon being asked how he felt by journalists on the flight, he said that he ''felt good''.

The extradition of Ivica Todorić was nowhere near as eventful as many had hoped, and his flight ended up landing at Zagreb's Franjo Tudjman Airport at 20:58 last night, where a police transfer van was already waiting for him.

Todorić didn't leave the airport through the regular passenger terminal, and was arrested and escorted to the police van upon his arrival at Zagreb Airport, the police then took him straight to Remetinec prison.

To recall, official investigations against Ivica Todorić, his sons Ivan and Ante, and twelve of Agrokor's former managers and auditors were launched last year for the illegal obtaining of one billion and 142 million kuna from Agrokor, which almost dragged the Croatian economy to its knees. Click here for detailed information on exactly what happened within Agrokor, and get better acquainted with Todorić's situation up until now here.

Want to keep up with more info on the extradition of Ivica Todorić and the processes that will now follow? Make sure to keep up with our news page.

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