Croatian tycoon Ivica Todoric, pictured April 2018, who was arrested in 2017 for allegedly falsifying accounts to hide huge debts at his company, has been extradited to Zagreb
Zagreb (AFP) - Britain on Wednesday extradited Croatian tycoon Ivica Todoric to Zagreb where he faces fraud allegations linked to the food and retail giant Agrokor he founded.
Todoric landed in Zagreb around 9:00 pm (2000 GMT) on board of a regular Croatia Airlines flight from London.
On arrival the 67-year-old, who was travelling with his wife, was transferred to a Zagreb prison, according to local N1 television.
“I feel well. I’m ready to return to Croatia,” Todoric, accompanied by police in civilian clothes, told a group of Croatian reporters at Heathrow airport earlier, the local Vecernji List daily paper reported.
On Thursday, Todoric was due to be questioned by an investigating judge.
Todoric was arrested in London a year ago on a European arrest warrant for allegedly falsifying accounts to hide huge debts at Agrokor, which he founded in 1976.
Todoric and 14 other people, including his two sons and other former top company executives, are under investigation for alleged abuse of trust, forging of official documents and failure to keep proper business records.
Two weeks ago the former CEO, known in Croatia as ‘Boss’, lost a bid to appeal against his extradition before magistrates in London.
Retail and food giant Agrokor is the biggest employer in the Balkans, with 60,000 workers and a large network of suppliers providing tens of thousands of more jobs.
The Zagreb-based company was saved from bankruptcy earlier this year after creditors backed a multi-billion euro debt deal.
Agrokor was weighed down by debts of 58 billion kunas ($8.9 billion, 7.8 billion euros) accumulated through aggressive expansion and expensive borrowing.
Todoric has repeatedly said the allegations are politically motivated and accused senior leaders in the Croatian government of orchestrating the takeover of Agrokor.
The issue has posed the most serious challenge to the government of conservative Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic since it took power in 2016.
Deputy prime minister Martina Dalic, who played a key role in Agrokor’s restructuring, was forced to resign in May amid allegations of conflict of interest.