Interpol Refuses to Renew Croatia’s Arrest Warrant against MOL Leader

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Croatia wants to arrest CEO of MOL Zsolt Hernadi for allegedly bribing former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.

The Executive Committee of Interpol decided ten days ago to reject Croatian request to renew an international arrest warrant against CEO of Hungarian oil company MOL Zsolt Hernadi. MOL is a co-owner of Croatian oil company INA. The decision was taken at a meeting held on 6 November, and it was later confirmed by the Interpol General Assembly, reports Večernji List on November 18, 2016.

Croatian Interior Ministry claims that it has not received any explanation, but a source says that the argument for the decision can be found in a submission which Hernadi’s attorneys submitted to the Zagreb County Court almost a year ago. It lists a number of proceedings which were led against Hernadi by Hungarian judicial authorities on the basis of a number of criminal charges for bribery, which have all been suspended. The Hungarian side claims that he should not be tried again for the same alleged offences.

The Zagreb County Court unofficially says that the request made by Hernadi’s lawyers is utterly unfounded because no court in Hungary has ever tried him for allegedly bribing former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. The same source from the County Court complains about unequal treatment by Interpol with regards to arrest warrants issued by different countries.

Court proceedings against Hernadi were launched in 2013 on the basis of indictment filed by the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK), according to which he bribed Sanader with ten million euros to allow MOL to take over management of INA. After Hungary refused to serve Hernadi with summons to be questioned in Croatia, the Zagreb County Court, at the request of USKOK, ordered his detention in a remand prison.

At the time, Interpol issued a red international arrest warrant for Hernadi, as well as a European arrest warrant. The arrest warrant was subsequently suspended at the request of the Hungarian authorities, and was then again issued on several occasions.

The last time it was reactivated in February 2015. However, while the warrant was in force, Hernandi without any problems went to business meetings in Austria and Germany. Croatia’s Ministry of Justice demanded explanation why he had not been taken into custody, but the two countries responded that he had already been tried for the same offences in Hungary. At the time, Hernadi himself confirmed that he was travelling abroad regularly, calling the arrest warrant illegal.


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