MOL-INA: CEO extradition rejected, yet...


A Budapest court has rejected a European arrest warrant issued by Croatia for the head of Hungary’s main oil company, who is wanted for his alleged involvement in a bribery case. MOL Nyrt Chairman and chief executive Zsolt Hernádi is wanted due to allegations he bribed then-prime minister Ivo Sanader in 2008 to gain control of INA, the Croatian oil company partly owned by MOL. 

Hungarian prosecutors said Monday the warrant and the extradition request were rejected by the court because their investigation did not find evidence of the charges made against Hernádi in Croatia. Hernádi and MOL deny the allegations. Sanader is serving a 10-year prison sentence since being found guilty last year of accepting a €5 million bribe from MOL.

Foreign Ministers seek peaceable solution
Meanwhile, Hungary’s Foreign Minister János Martonyi and his Croatian counterpart Vesna Pusic have agreed to clear up the matter of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL and its Croatian peer by means of dialogue; however, if talks fail to yield a solution, MOL will decide whether or not to sell its stake in INA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

Martonyi informed Pusic of the Hungarian government’s stand on the matter at a meeting in Montenegro late Friday: it does not wish for there to be any source of tension in Hungarian-Croatian relations, and if MOL’s stake in INA prevents this, then the best solution would be to separate the two business partners in a civilized manner, the ministry said.

Martonyi stressed that the question is solely in MOL’s sphere of influence as a company, the ministry added.

Pusic told Croatian news agency HINA on Saturday that she and Martonyi agreed on Friday that it was in the best interest of both countries for the negotiations to continue.

MOL owns a little under 50% of INA’s shares. The Croatian state is the other major stakeholder.

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