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Agrokor’s Todoric Extradited to Croatia

Collapse of the food and retail group would threaten jobs across the Balkans.

8 November 2018

Ivica Todoric, the founder of the giant Balkan retail conglomerate Agrokor, spent last night in a Croatian prison after being extradited from the UK.

 

Todoric, 67, fled to London last year, claiming Croatia was persecuting him.

 

Along with his two sons and 12 others including former top executives, he is accused of embezzling more than 1 billion kuna ($153 million) from the heavily indebted Agrokor, Total Croatia News reports.

 

Todoric has maintained his innocence. His wife, Vesna, told the N1 broadcaster he would prove he had not taken a single euro out of the company.

 

The case has rattled countries across the Balkans, where Agrokor-run supermarkets and other businesses employ tens of thousands of workers, The Associated Press writes.

 

Todoric was arrested in the UK last year under a European arrest warrant but was freed the same day after posting a bail of 100,000 pounds. A London court rejected his appeal against extradition last month.

 

Ivica Todoric. Screenshot from HRPolitika.

 

Agrokor employs 60,000 people in the Western Balkans but is struggling under huge debts, and it is under state administration. Earlier this year, the Croatian government passed a law to keep the company out of bankruptcy as its debts rose to nearly $9 billion, Deutsche Welle reported.

 

Todoric accuses Croatia of a politically motivated campaign against him. After losing his appeal last month, he said the setback would not stop him “from exposing rampant corruption at the very top of the Croatian government.”

 

 

  • In July, the High Commercial Court in Zagreb confirmed that an agreement on settling Agrokor’s debts was arranged with its creditors. In October the court turned down 87 complaints against the agreement, marking an important step in the process of eventually turning the company over to its creditors, Total Croatia News cited emergency administrator Fabris Perusko as saying.

 

  • Agrokor’s importance to the regional economy was underlined when high officials from Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Montenegro met last year to discuss joint action to protect jobs and shield local companies at risk from the group’s debt woes, B92 reported.

 

  • Despite the difficulties, some of Agrokor’s biggest daughter companies and partner firms are recording higher profits this year than during the same period last year, according to Total Croatia News.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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