Agrokor hearing adjourned after ex-owner requests exclusion of all judges

NEWS 04.11.202217:46 0 komentara

A session of the Zagreb County Court's indictment panel in the biggest case of money siphoning from the Agrokor conglomerate adjourned on Friday because its former owner Ivica Todoric requested the exclusion of all judges and prosecutors.

At the session, Todoric requested the exclusion of the indictment panel, the court’s president, the state attorney general, and all deputies because the court decided to interrogate expert witness Ismet Kamal and dismissed the defence’s request for additional documents.

Todoric’s motion should be decided by the High Criminal Court.

He told the press he might get into politics and that he already had political support, but did not say whose. He added that he also expected to win at the arbitration tribunal in Washington.

The indictment panel was to have interrogated Kamal, an expert financial witness from the Polish KPMG company, and ruled on the legality of his report in the Agrokor case, for which the State Prosecutor’s Office paid HRK 8.6 million.

Before the session, defence attorneys said Kamal’s expert report was illegal. Instead of KPMG, they said, it was done by Croatian experts who are in a conflict of interest because they worked for Agrokor during the extraordinary management in the company.

After the adjournment, journalists asked Zagreb County deputy prosecutor Danijela Paic if the prosecution objected to the court seeing a contract which the county prosecutor’s office signed with Kamal and KPMG.

She said that was irrelevant in this case and that all issues pointed out by the High Criminal Court “will be solved by interrogating witnesses.”

Todorić and 14 others are accused of defrauding Agrokor of 1.2 billion kuna from 2006 to 2017. According to the prosecution, Todoric made 923.6 million kuna in illegal gains, while 320 million kuna went to the Dutch Agrokor Investment BV.

The Zagreb County Court’s indictment panel discussed the grounds of the indictment in early 2021, but on 18 October 2021 the High Criminal Court ordered a re-examination of the legality of the expert financial report on which the indictment is based.

The High Criminal Court said it had quashed the part of the panel’s decision which dismissed defence motions for leaving out a combined financial and audit report as illegal evidence.

The withdrawal of the indictment followed reports that former prosecutor Mirela Aleric-Puklin, who was working on the case, her husband, and former Agrokor management board member Piruska Canjuga, one of the defendants, were arrested for leaking information from the investigation.

Todoric said on that occasion that the indictment was withdrawn to cover up the embarrassment of the State Prosecutor’s Office in the Agrokor case.

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