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Court refuses to execute European Arrest Warrant for MOL CEO

Issues

The Municipal Court of Budapest has refused to execute a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the Croatian authorities for Zsolt Hernádi, the chairman-CEO of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, the court told state news agency MTI on Thursday.   

MOL Chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernádi (photo MTI: Tamás Kovács)

Croatian officials are seeking to arrest Hernádi on suspicion he bribed former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to grant MOL management rights in Croatian peer INA.

The primary reason the court gave for the decision is "the risk that [Hernádiʼs] right to a fair trial would be infringed and an impartial judgement of the case would not be ensured." The other reason is that the Municipal Court of Budapest earlier acquitted Hernádi of charges of international bribery. The MOL chief was identified in the courtʼs statement only by his initials, noted MTI.   

After the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg ruled that Hungary should not have ignored an extradition request for Hernádi in July this year, the Croatian police requested that Interpol once again extend a red notice for Hernádi.

"The European Arrest Warrant allows for faster and simpler surrender procedures and an end to political involvement in extradition procedures," according to the website of the European Commission. "EU countries can no longer refuse to surrender their own citizens to another EU country, if the citizen has committed a serious crime or is suspected of having committed such a crime in another EU country."

An EAW may be issued by a national judicial authority if the sought person is accused of an offence for which the maximum penalty is at least one year of prison, or if the sought person has been sentenced to a prison term of at least four months, the EC website notes.

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