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Croatia to investigate INA trading before privatization caps

Croatia will await the results of an investigation into trading in INA Industrija Nafte d.d. stock before enforcing laws to limit private ownership in the oil and gas company, Bloomberg reported, citing Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. “We will have to change the entire privatization law for INA,” Kosor told the Zagreb-based cabinet. “Before we do that, we have decided to wait for the investigation results into recent trading in INA shares, as the government must protect the interests of the Republic.”

Kosor on March 29 said the government will cap individual holdings in INA at 49%. The move would prevent Hungary’s MOL Nyrt, which controls INA, from gaining a majority stake in the refiner. Croatia’s market regulator on March 28 suspended trading in INA shares, saying it acted “following significant trading by foreign investors” and to protect INA’s shareholders.

“The government will seek a solution with MOL while keeping in mind the strategic interests of Croatia,” Kosor said. MOL holds 47.26% of INA, while the Croatian government owns 44.84%. MOL won the controlling rights of Croatia’s leading refiner in a 2009 partnership agreement with the government. “It appears shares were traded in a non-transparent way, and there are allegations of money laundering,” Kosor said. The investigation will focus on funds in Slovakia, Hungary and Cyprus, she said.