Interpol Drops Pursuit of Mol CEO as Croatian Trial Looms

  • Police agency deletes "Red Notice" for Hernadi, lawyer says
  • Croatian court to proceed with trial against CEO, ex-premier

Interpol removed Mol Nyrt. Chief Executive Officer Zsolt Hernadi from its wanted list, ending a three-year pursuit requested by neighboring Croatia over allegations of bribery.

The agency deleted the “Red Notice” for the executive of the Hungarian refiner after suspending it last year, Hernadi’s lawyer Michael O’Kane said. Interpol, which typically issues such notices to seek suspects’ arrest for extradition, had announced Hernadi’s pursuit after Croatia pressed charges of corruption and bribery over the 2009 sale of refiner INA Industrija Nafte d.d to Mol.

“Mr Hernadi is surprised that Interpol has taken so long to conclude that it is inappropriate for it to assist Croatia in its dispute with Mol," O’Kane said late Thursday. "He is naturally delighted that the Red Notice has finally been deleted.”

Interpol didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment.

Croatia plans to resume a joint trial against Hernadi and former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader after the Adriatic nation’s constitutional court last year overturned a guilty verdict over procedural errors. Hernadi has maintained his innocence, as has Sanader, whose illness has delayed the proceedings.

County Court

"The trial will start when Sanader regains his health,” Judge Kresimir Devcic, spokesman at the County Court in Zagreb, said by phone. Failing that, the two cases could be separated, he said, declining to comment on the Interpol move.

Mol, which owns 49.1 percent of INA, has faced disputes over management rights with Croatia, which holds 44.84 percent of the $4.4 billion company. Budapest-based Mol said earlier it was open to selling its stake in INA if talks with Croatia fail.

“With the full support of Mol’s Board of Directors, Hernadi will continue to fight the false and commercially motivated allegation which Croatia has made against him,” O’Kane said.

— With assistance by Jasmina Kuzmanovic

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