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Croat Court Asks Police to Issue Warrant for Mol CEO Hernadi

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- A Zagreb court asked police to issue an arrest warrant for Mol Nyrt. Chairman Zsolt Hernadi, police spokeswoman Jelena Bikic said.

Authorities are preparing to issue the international warrant for Hernadi, a suspect in a bribery case linked to Croatia’s largest refiner INA Industrija Nafte d.d., after a Zagreb county court ordered his detention on Sept. 27 for missing a meeting with prosecutors.

“I can’t tell you exactly when the arrest warrant will be out, but the procedure with Interpol is underway,” Bikic said by SMS.

The warrant for Hernadi comes as Croatia, the European Union’s newest member, has sought to re-assert control over INA since it passed into Mol’s management in a 2009 deal under former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader that a Croatian court ruled was corrupt.

Mol owns 49.1 percent of the $7.3 billion company, and Croatia, which complains Mol runs INA as a subsidiary rather than an independent company, holds 44.84 percent.

Management Dispute

Sanader resigned in July 2009, and was later arrested and convicted of bribery. He is serving a 10-year prison term and is appealing the verdict.

The court ruled last week that Hernadi might be a flight risk after he didn’t appear on Sept. 25 before the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime to be interrogated in the Sanader case.

Mol General Council Pal Kara on Sept. 27 said he had no knowledge of any request from Croatian authorities to question Hernadi. He dismissed the allegations and said the court’s view that Hernadi may be a flight risk was “unreasonable and baseless.”

Officials from Croatia’s government and Mol began talks over the management of INA in Zagreb on Sept. 18. They agreed to meet once a month to discuss cost control, investment and profit sharing, and other issues.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

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

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