A fugitive on Europe’s most wanted list is fighting extradition to Croatia after handing himself in to British police over an alleged £127 million fraud.
Ivica Todoric said he would fight being sent back to face charges related to an alleged €110million (£127m) fraud at his heavily indebted family business, Agrokor.
The 66-year-old was the owner of the food and retail group, which is Croatia’s largest privately owned company, before it was put into state administration in April.
He handed himself in at London’s Charing Cross police station just after 9am on Tuesday and was detained on a European arrest warrant issued by Croatia.
Hours before, Croatian authorities informed their British counterparts of his exact location in London after tracing his telephone calls.
He had been on Europol’s most wanted list.
The fugitive, whose net worth is €155m (£136.5m), was granted bail by a judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Prosecutor Benjamin Seifert, appearing for the Croatian authorities, told the court Todoric faces three charges in Croatia – false accounting, fraud by false representation and abuse of position.
The court heard there is a global freeze on the millionaire’s assets.
Under his bail conditions, he has to provide security of £100,000, hand over his and his wife’s passports, wear an electronic tag and report to police three times a week.
“The context in which I grant you bail is the knowledge that both in this country and throughout the world your assets are frozen and your ability to obtain money is limited,” the judge said.
Writing on his well-known blog, the millionaire denied any wrongdoing and accused top Croatian officials of plotting against him for political reasons.
An audit performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of Agrokor’s state-appointed management showed a net loss of 11bn kuna (£1.28bn) last year and 3.6bn kuna (£420m) in 2015.
Agrokor’s net worth for the two years was reduced by 22bn kuna (£2.6bn).
Suppliers, bondholders and banks, including about £969m held by Russia’s Sberbank, provided credit to Agrokor.
Timothy Otty, Todoric’s lawyer, told the court his client is an extremely successful businessman who founded the group, which has been in existence for 40 years.
A full extradition hearing will take place in April 2018.