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article imageCroatia tycoon released on bail

By AFP     Nov 20, 2018 in World

Croatian tycoon Ivica Todoric, being investigated over fraud allegations, was released from a Zagreb prison on Tuesday after posting a million-euro ($1.1-million) bail.

Todoric, 67, had been detained since he was extradited from Britain earlier this month.

"Todoric is not allowed to leave the Zagreb area without a court approval and had to hand over his passport," a Zagreb court spokesman Kresmir Devcic told reporters.

Todoric's lawyer Jadranka Slokovic said the bail money was provided by "friends".

Todoric was arrested in London a year ago on a European arrest warrant for allegedly falsifying accounts to hide huge debts at food and retail giant Agrokor, which he founded in 1976.

Todoric and 14 other people, including his two sons and other former top company executives, are under investigation for alleged abuse of trust, forging of official documents and failure to keep proper business records.

Agrokor is the biggest employer in the Balkans, with 60,000 workers and a large network of suppliers providing tens of thousands more jobs.

The Zagreb-based company was saved from bankruptcy earlier this year after creditors backed a multi-billion euro debt deal.

Russian state-owned Sberbank, Agrokor's biggest creditor, became its largest single stakeholder with a nearly 40 percent stake.

Sberbank and another Russian bank, VTB, between them acquired more than 46 percent of the company.

Agrokor was weighed down by debts of 58 billion kunas ($8.9 billion, 7.8 billion euros) accumulated through aggressive expansion and expensive borrowing.

Todoric has repeatedly said the allegations against him are politically motivated and accused senior members of the Croatian government of orchestrating the takeover of Agrokor.

The issue has posed the most serious challenge to the government of conservative Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic since it took power in 2016.

Deputy prime minister Martina Dalic, who played a key role in Agrokor's restructuring, was forced to resign in May amid allegations of a conflict of interest.

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