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Croatian prosecutor to interrogate MOL chief as a suspect

July 13th, 2013

Népszabadság thinks Hungary will not be able to prevent the Croatian authorities from interrogating and eventually indicting MOL Ceo Zsolt Hernádi.

On Thursday, the office of the Croation prosecutor announced that it intended to interrogate Zsolt Hernádi, the Chief Executive Officer of Hungary’s oil and gas company MOL. The Croatian authorities suspect Mr Hernádi of bribery in connection with the MOL takeover of the INA oil company (see BudaPost through June 11, 2011). In 2011, the Croatian prosecutor requested the interrogation of Mr Hernádi as a witness, but the Hungarian authorities refused to hand him over. Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader who authorized the deal, was sentenced by a first instance Croatian court to ten years in jail, although for deeds unrelated to the MOL case (see BudaPost November 22, 2012).

Népszabadság in an editorial reminds the reader of its opinion two years ago (see BudaPost July 8, 2011), and asserts that it is still valid today. The leading left-wing daily points out that now that Croatia has joined the EU, the Hungarian authorities will not be able to stop the interrogation of Mr Hernádi, and believes the same leading officials who have staunchly supported Croatia’s entry into the EU must also have known that. Népszabadság therefore thinks that Hungary’s leaders must have a compromise in mind, which must be the one the newspaper mentioned two years ago. The Croatian authorities want Mr Hernádi, while the Hungarian government’s utmost concern is to keep MOL’s status as a regional multinational company. This set-up creates the possibility that the Hungarian government will have to relinquish Mr Hernádi in order to preserve the position of MOL in Croatia.

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