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Interpol decision allows renewal of Red Notice for Hernádi

The governing body of Interpol took a decision at a general assembly in Dubai on Saturday allowing a Red Notice issued for Zsolt Hernádi, the chairman and CEO of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, to be renewed, according to information on the website of the Croatian Ministry of the Interior, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Hernádi has been charged in Croatia with bribing former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader a decade earlier to grant MOL management rights in Croatian peer INA. Hernádi was acquitted of the charge by the Hungarian judiciary.

In late October, a retrial weighing corruption charges against Hernádi and Sanader began in Zagreb without the presence of the MOL chief, after a Budapest court refused to execute a European Arrest Warrant in August. Hernádiʼs defense attorneys refused to enter a plea at the retrial, insisting that certain documents still need to be translated into Hungarian.

A Red Notice for Hernádi was earlier issued by Interpol, but his name was later taken off the list. In August, Croatia asked Interpol to re-issue the notice.

Croatia and Hungary made their cases in writing on the matter after consultations with Interpol, and each state had the opportunity to present evidence at the meeting of Interpolʼs governing body in Dubai, said the Croatian Ministry of the Interior.

In a statement, MOL said the Interpol decision caused surprise in Hungary. It noted that it fails to acknowledge the decision by a Hungarian court in August rejecting the arrest warrant for Hernádi on the grounds that he may not be ensured a fair trial in Croatia.

A Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by Interpolʼs General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant. It is not an international arrest warrant.

Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a Red Notice. Each member country decides for itself what legal value to give a Red Notice within its borders.