Croatia to Protect Its Interests in INA

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Despite Interpol’s decision to reject Croatia’s arrest warrant against MOL director Hernadi, Croatia will continue with legal proceedings against him.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that the recent Interpol’s decision to reject Croatia’s request to renew a warrant against CEO of MOL Zsolt Hernadi was a technical decision, and added that, as far as he knows, the Croatian judiciary was continuing proceedings initiated against him. Hernadi was in 2013 indicted at the Zagreb County Court that he gave 10 million euros in bribes to former Prime Minister and HDZ president Ivo Sanader, who allowed MOL to secure dominant management rights in the Croatian oil company INA. However, Croatian judiciary has been unable to reach him. MOL has repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming that he has never bribed any politician and did not give money to anyone to acquire dominant management rights in INA. MOL is a co-owner of INA together with Croatian government, reports Večernji List on November 22, 2016.

At the recent Interpol general assembly, Croatian request to extend the warrant against Hernadi was rejected, and his lawyer told the media that Croatia used the warrant for political purposes.

Plenković said there was the possibility that potential disagreements which exist could be solved at the European Union level. He pointed out that the proceedings against Hernadi in Croatia had been launched by the State Attorney’s Office. As one of the possible ways to solve the problem, he mentioned the possibility of the County Court asking for a preliminary opinion of the European Court. “But these are technical and legal issues. In any case, the process has not been politicized”, said the Prime Minister. “There are international mechanisms of cooperation, and we will insist on this”, he reiterated.

Plenković did not want to comment on a statement by MOL spokesman that the company would sell its stake in INA if no agreement is reached with Croatian government. He added that his partner in discussions is not a spokesman, but “somebody higher up in the hierarchy”. He also emphasized that it was his government which was first to organize a meeting with the INA management after a number of years, and that Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier would today visit Budapest.

Prime Minister said that he saw INA as a Croatian company and a strategic oil company, and added that the government had been working on connecting all experts and those who work in the energy sector in Croatia, in order to agree a strategy for INA.

“INA is for us the issue of energy security as well, and it is one of the most important companies in the country. All these aspects are part of our approach to INA”, he said. Asked whether Croatia would be interested in buying MOL’s stake in INA, Plenković said that Croatia was interested in INA being a profitable company which provides energy security and contributes to employment in Croatia.


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