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Croatian Retail Magnate Todoric Released on Bail in London

A dozen others also face charges of financial skulduggery at the Balkans’ biggest food producer.

9 November 2017

Ivica Todoric, the former head of Croatian agricultural and retail giant Agrokor, was released on a 100,000 pounds ($130,000) bail a few hours after handing himself in to police in London Tuesday, the BBC reports.

 

Todoric is wanted in Croatia on charges of embezzlement and fraud as part of a wider investigation into suspected financial crimes at Agrokor, Croatia’s largest private company and a major employer in the Balkans.

 

Todoric said he will fight extradition. Screenshot from HR Politika / Youtube

 

See News reported that Todoric and 14 other people were suspected of amassing 1.14 billion kuna ($180 million) in unlawful material gains for Todoric as well as an additional 320 million kuna for an unnamed legal entity. Croatian police arrested 12 of the 14 individuals on 16 October.

 

Todoric said he will fight extradition, Sky News reports. A full extradition hearing will take place in April 2018.

 

Writing on his personal blog Monday, Todoric said the case against him was political and blamed it on “foreign influences, various lobbyists, selected law firms and their friends [who have begun] to manage the state,” Total Croatia News writes.

 

He drew comparison between himself and Czech business tycoon Andrej Babis, who is expected to become prime minister on the strength of his party’s victory in last month’s elections. Babis, he said, is fighting corruption in every part of society.

 

“Today I’m fighting against the corrupt system in Croatia,” he wrote.

 

Under his bail conditions, Todoric had to surrender his and his wife's passports. He is required to wear an electronic tag and must report to police three times a week. A global freeze on his assets was imposed.

 

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Tuesday that the Agrokor affair is the biggest scandal in the country with "repercussions on the stability of [Croatia's] economy, creditors and suppliers," according to ABC News.

 

 

  • Agrokor went into administration in April, when the Croatian government stepped in to prevent its collapse, See News reports. Todoric was stripped of his managerial rights but officially remains the owner.

 

  • Agrokor’s biggest creditor, Russia’s state-owned bank Sberbank, provided a rescue to loan to pay off worried suppliers in January, according to Bloomberg.

 

  • Agrokor serves markets in southeast and Central Europe, and is the Balkans’ main food producer, according to the BBC. Its holdings include Jamnica, the largest bottled water company in Croatia, and Konzum, the largest supermarket chain in Croatia. It employs 60,000 people in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, and Hungary, and has annual sales of $7 billion, Bloomberg says.

Compiled by Kate Syme-Lamont

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