The Zagreb County Court decided on Thursday that Ivica Todoric, founder of the Agrokor food and retail group, is to remain in investigative custody, saying he posed a flight risk.
“We offered bail, all the identical conditions under which he was released in England, all the precautions. But, we see that Croatian and English law are different,” said Todoric’s attorney, Jadranka Slokovic, after the hearing.
At the hearing, the defence proposed he be released on bail, as all the witnesses in the investigation had been questioned.
A million kuna (€135,000) bail was offered, Slokovic said, adding they would file an appeal.
Todoric had been arrested in November last year in London, on a European arrest warrant issued by Croatia, and set free on a £100,000 bail the same day. Under conditions of his release, he had to surrender his passport, wear an electronic tagging bracelet, and report to the police three times per week.
In April, Westminster Magistrates' Court had approved Todoric's extradition, dismissing Todoric's defence lawyers’ claims that the fraud investigation against him was in fact a case of political persecution. That ruling became final in October, after the defence motion to allow Todoric to appeal was dismissed.
He was extradited to Croatia from Britain late on Wednesday and taken to custody in Zagreb’s Remetinec prison immediately upon landing.
Todoric, along with 14 other Agrokor former senior managers, is under investigation over the debt crisis in the company which has been taken over by state-appointed crisis administration in April 2017. He is suspected of unlawfully syphoning 1.14 billion kuna (€154 million) out of the company.
(€1 = 7.43 kuna)