Tuesday 11 December 2018

UK extradites fugitive tycoon to Croatia

Ivica Todoric is accused in Croatia of mismanaging the Agrokor company and embezzling millions.

A police van thought to be carrying Ivica Todoric arrives at Zagreb central prison (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A police van thought to be carrying Ivica Todoric arrives at Zagreb central prison (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

By Associated Press Reporter

UK authorities have extradited Ivica Todoric, the founder of a deeply indebted food and retail company, to Croatia.

A year after Todoric was detained in London on embezzlement charges, the 67-year-old landed in Zagreb on a commercial flight from London and was escorted by police to a prison in the Croatian capital.

Todoric is accused in Croatia of mismanaging the Agrokor company and embezzling millions. He was arrested in the capital a year ago under a European Arrest Warrant, but was set free on a £100,000 bail the same day he was arrested.

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British authorities have extradited Todoric (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

He has maintained his innocence, claiming that he was the victim of rampant corruption at the heart of power in his country. A London court rejected his appeal last month and agreed to send him to Croatia.

Agrokor is a massive concern whose tentacles stretch throughout the Balkans. It employs 60,000 people and accounts for 15% of Croatia’s GDP.

It has collapsed under the weight of 6 billion euro (£5.23 billion) in debt, including a disputed sum owed to two Russian state-run banks, Sberbank and VTB. It was put into state administration a year ago.

Agrokor creditors this year approved a settlement deal that includes giving the two banks a stake of over 46% to avoid bankruptcy.

It has prompted fears in Croatia that the Kremlin has been strategically trying to increase its political influence in the European Union’s newest member through Agrokor’s troubles.

Press Association

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