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MOL CEO Zsolt Hernádi indicted in Croatia [Updated]

If the MOL board of directors thought that Croatian anti-corruption office USKOK had given up on attempting to bring company chairman/CEO Zsolt Hernádi to justice, they have another think coming: Yesterday the Croatian officials indicted Hernádi on charges he bribed former prime minister Ivo Sanader to give MOL management rights in Croatia-based peer INA.

Earlier this month, a Zagreb County Court had rejected an appeal from Hernádi that alleged that investigation of the bribery case for which the MOL CEO is wanted “entailed substantial violations of criminal law and errors of fact.”

In June 2011, the Croatian nation’s chief prosecutor first charged Hernádi for bribery of now-deposed/then-prime minister Ivo Sanader for as much as €10 million in 2008 and/or 2009 in order to score MOL majority ownership in MOL. At that time, an official statement from MOL defended its CEO with “No payment or agreement on any payment was ever made, directly or indirectly, neither in the course of INA’s privatization nor thereafter to any actor or decision maker on the Croatian political scene.”

With the joining of Croatia to the European Union in 2013, certain legal provisions then allowed the MOL/INA bribery case to be reopened; this led in turn to an arrest warrant issued for Hernádi in October. A Budapest court rejected the extradition order a couple of weeks later.

Update: Shortly after reportage of the indictment hit local media, a MOL statement backed the company's man with “Zsolt Hernádi has fully demonstrated to MOL Group’s board that the accusations are unfounded and that there is nothing of substance in the matter ... Zsolt Hernádi will successfully defend himself against the accusations in future as he has earlier.”