Are you sure?

MOL says no official request received from Croatia to question CEO

Neither MOL nor its chief executive Zsolt Hernádi has received official notification of a request by Croatian authorities to question Mr Hernádi, MOL Communications Director Andrea Pánczél told MTI on Tuesday.

Hungarian daily Népszabadság on Tuesday reported the Croatian authorities had asked for permission to question Hernádi regarding alleged bribery of former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader of Croatia aimed at gaining control over Croatian peer INA.

Croatian authorities made an official request for the preliminary extradition of Hernadi but said they were willing to question him in Hungary based on evidence to be provided later, the newspaper said, citing independent unnamed sources.

Croatian daily Vecernji list on June 21 reported that an investigation of Sanader on corruption charges revealed that Hernádi in 2008 and 2009 attempted to bribe the former prime minister of Croatia.

MOL subsequently denied the allegation, asserting in a statement. "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" the statement said.

MOL holds a 47.46% take in INA

Hungary's Ministry of Public Administration and Justice said it had no information on an extradition request from Croatia when asked by MTI on Tuesday. The ministry's state secretariat in charge of communications said it had no information on the matter as such a request for legal assistance would be handled by the Attorney general.

Asked about the report at a press conference in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said "we know of the charges". "We do not see it as an intergovernmental question; clearing up the charges is the task of law enforcement bodies," he added.

Orbán said the state of Hungary does not agree to any change in the contract between MOL and INA, commenting on an earlier report in the Croatian press that the Croatian government could cancel the contract.

The Hungarian government agreed to "reacquire" a 21.2% stake in Hungarian oil and gas company MOL from Russian peer Surgutneftegas for €1.88 billion in May.

MOL shares traded at HUF 20,315 around noon on Tuesday, down 2.8% from the previous close.