The finance minister is confronted by his Agrokor past once again.
The relationship between Agrokor’s former top dog Ivica Todorić, now living in London under the watchful eye of the British authorities, and the current finance Minister Zdravko Marić has been being forced under the spotlight since the Agrokor crisis first came to light earlier this year.
Minister Marić had formerly been an employee at Agrokor and this aroused suspicion to such a degree after the Agrokor earthquake struck, that the HDZ-MOST coalition fell to pieces. Despite the whirlwind of events surrounding him, Marić has consistently publicly insisted that his duties within the now ailing company didn’t include the drafting or writing of financial reports and that he had been entirely unaware of the severity of the situation brewing within Croatia’s largest privately owned firm.
“Everything was within the framework of a professional relationship and conversation,” the finance minister pointed out.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of November, 2017, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Friday that when he was an Agrokor employee, he talked with the company’s former owner Ivica Todorić about leaving his position within Agrokor for the finance ministry, saying there were no secrets surrounding that.
“Of course I talked, I was an employee of Agrokor back then, there’s no particular mystery about what we talked about and the way in which we talked about it” said Marić, who was asked about the subject which still causes controversy at a media conference.
Marić said that after the invitation, more precisely the selection process, he decided to accept the position of minister of finance during the reign of Tihomir Orešković’s government.
Journalists asked Marić whether or not he had participated in talks on the release of foreign exchange reserves while he was in the position of secretary of state at the Ministry of Finance, as the former Governor of the Croatian National Bank Željko Rohatinski had mentioned. He was also asked whether he participated in talks with Tomislav Karamarko and Ivica Todorić about the fact that Rohatinski had entered politics, about which MOST’s Nikola Grmoja had spoken.
Marić said that over the past couple of days he had been travelling and that he hadn’t heard the presentation or the entire session of the Parliamentary Investigative Committee for Agrokor, adding that he wasn’t following it because he has a lot of duties and responsibilities to take care of as a minister.
“As Secretary of State (Ministry of Finance) and a minister, I always and exclusively work professionally and responsibly anywhere and in any meeting. That’s the way I worked as Secretary of State, that’s the way I worked when I was with Agrokor, and of course, [that’s the way I work] now that I’m the minister of finance,” Marić noted.