Croatia Court Orders Detention for Mol Chairman Hernadi

A Zagreb court issued a detention order for Mol Nyrt. Chairman Zsolt Hernadi after he missed a meeting with Croatian prosecutors to answer questions in a fraud investigation.

Hernadi, who is also chief executive officer of the Hungarian oil company, failed to appear before Croatia’s Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime on Sept. 25, said county court spokesman Kresimir Devcic in a phone interview today.

Croatia and Mol have been locked in a dispute over the Zagreb-based oil company’s future since the arrest and conviction of ex-Premier Ivo Sanader, who is serving a 10-year prison term for corruption related to a 2009 agreement that gave Mol control over INA Industrija Nafte d.d. Mol has denied any wrongdoing and spokesman Domokos Szollar said the Budapest company couldn’t immediately comment on the court order.

“The detention is ordered as there is a possibility of flight, and that court order is a basis for issuing a European Union-wide arrest warrant and possibly also an international arrest warrant,” Croatian state television reported today, without saying where it got the information.

Mol, which owns 49.1 percent of INA, while Croatia holds 44.84 percent of the $7.3 billion unit.

Since the accord, successive governments in the European Union’s newest member have sought to re-establish the state’s influence over INA. The government earlier this month initiated talks with Mol, asking that INA be developed as an independent company, and not as a subsidiary.

The two sides met in Zagreb on Sept. 18, and agreed to meet once a month to discuss management, cost controls, investment and profit sharing, among other things.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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