ZAGREB, February 1, 2018 – The head of the Croatian Farmers’ Association, Tihomir Jaić, on Thursday called on the government-appointed emergency administrator in the ailing Agrokor food conglomerate, Ante Ramljak, to step down and urged Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to dismiss Ramljak if he did not resign of his own accord.
Addressing a press conference outside Agrokor’s head office, Jaić said that he did not want farmers to be called out for not reacting on time, and considering information that appeared in the media, which indicates Ramljak’s connections to companies now doing business with Agrokor, Jaić called on Ramljak to step down as emergency administrator as a moral gesture. “In case he doesn’t want to do so, we call on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to finally start doing his job and to dismiss Ramljak,” Jaic said.
He recalled media reports according to which consultants in Agrokor’s emergency administration, as well as the Knighthead Fund, are directly or indirectly connected with Ante Ramljak, and claims by minor shareholders in Agrokor that the recognition of contentious guarantees has brought the solvency of some of Agrokor’s companies into question.
He also mentioned media reports according to which over the past eight months Ramljak has spent 213 million kuna on consultants’ fees. “If we add that there are certainly some hidden accounts somewhere that still have not been uncovered by the media and could be soon, we can say that Ramljak annually spends half a billion kuna on consultant services,” Jaić said.
He added that the Farmers’ Association had to raise the alarm about this information, about the danger that in two or three years time, Agrokor could once again experience the same things that occurred in the past.
Asked about the work of the Temporary Creditors’ Council, Jaić said that the Council was working within its abilities and legal limitations. Asked whether criticisms levelled against Ramljak by Agrokor’s owner Ivica Todorić were credible, Jaić said Todorić was to blame for the ruin of thousands of small farms and the best thing would be for him to surrender to Croatia’s judiciary.