The ex Agrokor boss and current fugitive in London gave an interview to Dnevnik Nove TV ahead of the British ruling on his extradition to Croatia to face trial.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of August, 2018, Ivica Todorić, the founder and former boss of Agrokor, said on Thursday that he doesn’t feel that he’s a fugitive, adding that he would soon return to Croatia, noting the recent decision of the British court on his extradition.
In an exclusive interview for Dnevnik Nove TV, the former ”gazda” pointed out that he was acting in accordance with European Union rules and stayed in London because he “wanted to protect his interests and find out the truth, as well as to present this truth to the public.”
“Given the fact that I’ve dealt with most of that work now, I will in any case return to Croatia, and quickly,” he said.
Upon being asked how he is managing to afford to live in London, otherwise one of the most expensive cities in all of Europe, the disgraced former face of Agrokor replied that there was nothing in any of his accounts. He claimed to have left Agrokor with 20,000 kuna, and that he is being helped out by his family and friends in London.
He made sure to echo his earlier blogs in which he had repeatedly attacked various members of the Croatian Government, placing emphasis once again on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, former Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalić and the Borg Group for Agrokor’s “liquidation”.
When asked if he was behind the relatively recent Hotmail affair which engulfed Martina Dalić and eventually saw her leave her position within the government, Todorić replied that he didn’t know anything more about it all than the rest of the public does, despite his public comments pertaining to the idea that the prime minister should have also resigned following the scandal.
Todorić also stated that at the beginning of 2017, he did not go to the government to seek help and that Agrokor was not facing any troubles last year. According to him, Agrokor’s credit rating dropped after statements from “certain people from abroad and from Croatia”.
He never said he had asked for a meeting with the prime minister, but was “enticed to ask for it”.
“Mr. [Božo] Petrov (MOST) asked me to meet, going through five or six different people. It was already kind of uncomfortable for me, considering that he was still the Speaker of Parliament, I don’t want to come across as if I think I’m better or something, I appreciate the institutions of the state, and especially the institution of the Speaker of Parliament, and then, since I didn’t know him, I didn’t know the Prime Minister, I didn’t know anyone, I called the Prime Minister to avoid looking like I’m going from one to another, and told him that Mr. Petrov has been calling and that if he has a free period [term] then I’d like to be able to meet with both,” Todorić said.
Upon being asked by a journalist about who exactly wanted to ”take” Agrokor, Todorić replied that it was “a variety of interested groups, Alex and partners, their helpers, and consultants/advisers in Croatia”.
At a meeting in the Government, it was decided to go forth and ”liquidate Agrokor,” Todorić rather boldly claimed. When asked about who decided on the move, he replied that it was Plenković, Dalić and the Borg Group.
When asked if Finance Minister Zdravko Marić was excluded from Todorić’s communication with the rest of the government, Todorić replied:
“No, he wasn’t. Unfortunately. He said that he would be. At the first meeting when someone would come to me, and I’d announce myself, as I said, with the prime minister for a meeting, he sent Mrs. Dalić and to Mr. Zdravko Marić, I was very surprised when he came to this first meeting because he worked in Agrokor and I didn’t think it was particularly logical for him to have been there. When I came to a secret meeting, and when I saw him there, then I started questioning things because I saw that he was once again involved in things in which it his involvement was illogical,”
Todorić also said that he now wants to protect his assets and himself, and he thinks that everything needs to be done “to protect that industry and all of its value”.
Not so long ago, at the end of July this year, a London court rejected the ex Agrokor boss’ appeal against his planned extradition back to Croatia, but he has still exercised his legal right to be heard orally. The hearing is quickly approaching, scheduled for September the 6th this year, and if the court remains loyal to its current position, we’re looking at the very last steps before his extradition to Croatia.
To quickly recap, back in October 2017, DORH (Državno odvjetništvo Republike Hrvatske/State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia) issued an arrest warrant for Ivica Todorić, one of the main suspects in the messy Agrokor affair which almost saw the domestic economy dragged to its knees, taking jobs and pension funds down with it.
An investigation was initiated against Ivica Todorić, his sons Ivan and Ante Todorić, and twelve individuals who once made up Agrokor’s former management body, as well as auditors, for the alleged illegal acquisition of a massive 1 billion and 142 million kuna.
Upon feeling the walls gradually closing in on him, the former Agrokor boss went into hiding and rumours spread of his potential locations throughout Europe, he eventually fled to London, where he was arrested on November the 7th, 2017 upon turning himself in at Charing Cross Station in the British capital, based on the directions of the European arrest warrant issued by Croatia. He then paid £100,000 in bail to the British authorities (an incomprehensible amount of cash for someone who claims to have ”nothing” in his accounts), and was released on tag.
The Court in London issued an initial decision on his extradition to Croatia in April this year.
The founder of Agrokor then announced that he would use all the legal measures available to him in the United Kingdom to avoid extradition to Croatia. Rumours pointing to his alleged hiring of the formidable British lawyer Michael O’Kane surfaced, as well as various other things, including his apparent desire to sue the Republic of Croatia for ”breaching European Union law”.
As stated, the High Court in London denied Todorić’s request to appeal against his extradition to the Republic of Croatia last month, and it seems the former king is set to finally fall.