ZAGREB, September 5, 2018 – The founder of the Agrokor food and retail conglomerate Ivica Todorić is due to appear before a high court in London on Thursday in a last-ditch attempt to avoid being extradited to Croatia to face allegations of fraud.
On July 24, London’s Westminster Magistrates Court overturned his appeal against a first-instance ruling of April 23 under which he was to be extradited to Croatia. After his appeal was rejected, Todorić asked the court for one more chance to be heard, which was granted and a hearing has been scheduled for September 6. If he fails to convince the court of his case, the extradition ruling becomes final.
On April 23, Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot approved Todorić’s extradition rejecting defence claims that he was a victim of political persecution in Croatia. “I accept that the Agrokor affair has a political dimension as it represents 15 percent of the GDP of Croatia, but the prosecution is based on the evidence uncovered and is not being pursued because of political pressure,” she said.
After the Agrokor debt crisis broke out, Todorić fled to London, where he was arrested on 7 November 2017 on a European warrant issued by Croatia. He was released on bail, but he had to hand over his passport and was ordered to wear an electronic tag and report to police three times a week. He said then that he would use every legal means available in the UK to avoid handover to Croatia.
Todorić, his two sons and 12 Agrokor executives and auditors are suspected of fraud totalling 1.142 billion kuna (153 million euro).