June 1, 2023

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Index – Economy – Group arrested in Croatian oil company

In Croatia, several people were arrested simultaneously on Saturday on suspicion of abuse and money laundering against the INA, according to local press reports.

According to the suspicion of the investigators, the INA suffered a huge amount of damage during the crimes: a total of 100 million kunas may have been incurred, but according to recent news, the amount may be several times higher.

According to unconfirmed reports, the director of INA bought gas at a depressed price and then sold the same gas abroad at a higher price, the difference being his own profit.

According to press reports, Damir Skugor and Josip Surjak, director of INA’s natural gas trading service, were arrested for crimes against INA. According to the latest information, Goran Husic, the father of Damir Skugor, was arrested. Husic and Surjak are owners of OMS Financial Management, which may be the focus of the investigation.

Croatian index Apart from them he knows Marija Radkic, the chairman of the board of directors of Plinara (one of the country’s leading natural gas suppliers) has been arrested. According to the latest news, the damage is in crores of Kuna.

INA responded in a statement

We are unable to comment on ongoing police investigations. We are fully cooperating with the authorities to investigate the matter.

The money was found on a pensioner

In this deal, the INA lost about 100 million kuna, and the money was reportedly deposited into the account of a retired family member of one of the suspects. According to the first report, the Anti-Money Laundering Office noticed a large amount in the pensioner’s account. Therefore, according to press reports, the police started arrests and house searches in Zagreb and Osijek, Split and Šibenik.

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The Mol-INA case has been dragging on for a long time

In 2003, during the privatization of INA, Moll acquired 25 percent and one share in the Croatian Oil Company. In 2009, Moll entered into an agreement with the Croatian government whereby Moll acquired controlling rights in INA and took over the Croatian company’s gas business. Molé currently owns 49.08 percent of INA, and the Hungarian oil company also has management rights in the company. 44.84 percent of the company belongs to the Croatian state – at the end of 2021 We summed it up.

We asked Mol’s president and CEO Zsolt Hernádi about the matter earlier this year, and at the time he said negotiations were ongoing. “We have never questioned the intention of the Croatian government to re-nationalize INA. This is a reasonable decision of the Croatian government. But we strongly insist that this transaction be carried out at a price that compensates for Mol’s investments in Croatia. That is what can be justified. At this time, the prices envisioned by the parties are far from each other. In the meantime, we are working to make INA an even stronger and better organization,” Zsolt Hernádi said in February.

Mole won this summer

In order to protect its investments, Mol initiated proceedings against the Croatian government at the end of 2013. The Hungarian oil company said that the Croatian government did not fulfill certain obligations and commitments. Finally, this summer, a decision was made in the Mol-INA case:

According to this, the domestic oil company received compensation of more than one hundred billion forints – according to the judgment issued in the summer of 2022, Moll will receive compensation of about 236 million dollars, including interest. In the first proceeding, which ended in 2016, Moll received 14.5 million euros from the Croatian government.

On July 5, 2022, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) issued an award in an arbitration proceeding between the Republic of Moldova and the Republic of Croatia. Moll initiated the procedure in 2013 because Croatia repeatedly violated agreements between the parties concluded in 2009, primarily regulating gas trade. The ICSID judgment clearly stated that Croatia’s allegations of bribery were not well founded. The Council unanimously rejected Croatia’s argument that the 2009 agreements were the result of bribery. Like the UNCITRAL Court in 2016, this international court of justice described the history of Crown witness in Croatian criminal proceedings as weak and full of contradictions. The court expressed doubts about the credibility and credibility of the witnesses.

“It is clearly stated here that Croatia cannot prove that corruption took place,” Paul Cara, Mol’s senior legal adviser, told our newspaper during a background discussion on the announcement. Happens, but witnesses can’t be “trusted”.

(Cover image: Oliver Punik/Bloomberg/Getty Images)