As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the indictment of the State Attorney’s Office in the Agrokor case against the former owner Ivica Todoric and fourteen other defendants charged with varying forms of abuse of the former company worth hundreds of millions of kuna has not been confirmed yet, and now it has become questionable whether the key evidence is even legal, as reported by Jutarnji list.
The High Criminal Court Chamber, chaired by Judge Ivan Turudic, partially upheld the defense’s appeals over key evidence in the Agrokor case – a bookkeeping (financial) finding prepared by KPMG’s Polish subsidiary. The defense argues that this evidence is actually illegal.
As to the legality of the expertise, the High Criminal Court considers that it cannot examine the decisive facts at all or determine whether there are reasons to single out this evidence as illegal in itself. According to the court, it is disputable that it isn’t clear who (and indeed to what extent) participated in the preparation of the expert report in question, and therefore it wasn’t possible to verify whether the persons who participated in the preparation of the findings and opinions were in conflict of interest. If that is the case, it could well be a legal reason for exemption.
Namely, although the accounting and financial expertise has been signed by Ismet Kamal, an employee of the Polish branch of KPMG, the defense pointed out that KMPG Hrvatska also worked on it, which, given that it was hired by the then extraordinary management of Agrokor, and that there was a conflict of interest. Therefore, the expertise is considered illegal.
Expert witness Kamal pointed out that he was responsible for the finding and opinion, and that he couldn’t disclose information about the persons who helped him due to the signed statement of confidentiality under GDPR. The County Court also received such an answer from KPMG’s branch in Poland. That was enough for the Indictment Chamber to reject the motion to separate the expertise as illegal evidence in the case against ex-Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric.
This was not the case, however, for the High Criminal Court, which gave the Indictment Chamber of the County Court a clear instruction to conduct the so-called trial on the legality of the evidence, call Ismet Kamal as a witness, determine who participated in the preparation of the accounting and financial expertise and work out whether or not he was in a conflict of interest.
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