Hungary Slams Croatia Over Oil Boss Arrest Warrant

Hungary Slams Croatia Over Oil Boss Arrest Warrant

The Hungarian government said in a statement that it "cannot allow these steps -- against the biggest investor in the country -- to go unanswered."

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Hungary threatened Croatia with legal action today in response to a European arrest warrant issued by Zagreb for the head of local energy group MOL (IW 1000/179).

The Hungarian government said in a statement that it "cannot allow these steps -- against the biggest investor in the country -- to go unanswered."

The Hungarian government said it would ask MOL to consider selling its 49.1% stake in Croatian oil and gas company INA (IW 1000/726) and that Hungary's foreign minister was pulling out of a planned visit to Croatia this week.

MOL, like INA partly state-owned, earlier described as "unjust" the Croatian police's issuing on Tuesday of a European arrest warrant for its CEO, Zsolt Hernadi.

Hernadi is suspected of striking a deal in 2008 with former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader under which the company paid 10 million euros ($13.5 million) in return for assuring MOL's control of INA.

Sanader, who led the Croatian government from 2003 to 2009, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in November for corruption, including for receiving 5 million euros over the alleged MOL deal.

Croatia's prosecutors have twice asked Hungary to question Hernadi, and twice sought to interrogate him in Zagreb, but all requests have so far been denied.

The most recent hearing was scheduled for September 25, and Hernadi again failed to appear. The Zagreb tribunal then ordered his detention.

Hungarian prosecutors in January said they would not be filing charges after dropping a probe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

TAGS: The Economy
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