October 17, 2017 / 2:08 PM / 5 months ago

Croatia police seek criminal charges against Agrokor executives

ZAGREB, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Croatian police are seeking criminal charges against senior managers of Agrokor who are under investigation for alleged financial irregularities at the indebted food group.

The police said in a statement on Tuesday that the charges they were seeking had been filed with the state attorney’s office in Zagreb.

The police arrested the executives in a series of raids on Monday.

Among those detained are 10 former senior executives in Agrokor and two people from a local auditing firm which was handling Agrokor’s financial reports, according to local media reports.

Police said that their investigation included “breach of trust in business deals and forgery of official documents.”

Agrokor, the biggest Croatian private firm with around 60,000 staff across Balkans, was put into state-run administration in April after suffering a liquidity and debt crisis.

Agrokor’s founder Ivica Todoric has denied any wrongdoing by himself or his associates in a blog post on his website and also said he was willing to put himself at the disposal of the judiciary and a parliamentary commission which is to investigate Agrokor demise.

Todoric’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request to comment.

An audit ordered by the company’s state-appointed management and performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), showed a net loss in 2016 of 11 billion kuna ($1.72 billion) and in 2015 of 3.6 billion kuna against a net profit of 1.2 billion kuna released by the previous management.

In the audit, the value of Agrokor’s net worth for 2015 and 2016 was reduced by 22 billion kuna.

Agrokor has yet to say how much it owes. Creditors include suppliers, bondholders and banks, with the biggest single portion of debt, around 1.1 billion euros ($1.29 billion), held by Russia’s Sberbank. ($1 = 6.3875 kuna) ($1 = 0.8512 euros) (Reporting by Igor Ilic. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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