Todorić gets additional 28 days to prepare

Autor:

10.09.2018.

London, 100418. Westminster Magistrates court, sud na kojem se odlucuje o eventualnom izrucenju Ivice Todorica u Hrvatsku. Na fotografiji: Ivica Todoric daje izjavu za medije ispred suda u drustvu supruge Vesne i odvjetnika.
Foto: Boris Kovacev / CROPIX
CROPIX

Ivica Todorić

The strong team of local attorneys influenced the ruling, but they have to present new evidence on 15 October.

The High Court in London will decide on the appeal to the extradition ruling next month.

The anticipated arrival of Ivica Todorić to the High Court in the center of London announced that the London episode of the most famous Croatian tycoon could take more than expected.

Cherie Blair appeared in his company, the UK attorney known not only for her famous husband, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, but also for some of the most demanding human rights defense cases in the UK. Besides James Hines, who bears the title of Queen’s Counsel, the highest-ranking attorney in UK legal system, Blair is part of Todorić’s new, expanded team, which will surely make the case attract more attention of UK media.

Optimism

Todorić exuded optimism and confidence at the hearing, which proved to be good intuition: Todorić’s legal team got additional 28 days to show that the former head of fallen Agrokor food and retail conglomerate is victim of political persecution by insisting on new evidence, which is the basis of his call for political asylum which was rejected in spring, to which his legal team appealed.

Todorić was in the company of Cherie Blair and his wife, who joined them later at Blair’s invitation. Even though she is at the center of attention just by showing up, Blair, who is known for unrelenting and sharp style, did not address the Court yesterday. Her colleague James Hines, who lead the discussion in the Court yesterday, apparently joined Todorić’s team only recently as he sent new documents to the Court the day before the hearing, which the judge was critical of.

The judge confirmed that the Court received the documents, but did not comment on the content. Even though he did not present evidence, he said that they have to do with ranking politicians who are influencing the investigation. Besides that, he described the spring court process as incomplete and called for additional 28 days. The defense will have to present new evidence in one hour at the hearing which will take place in the week starting on 15 October.

The evidence will have to be strong enough to challenge the ruling from April, according to which Todorić is to be extradited to Croatia. After leaving the Court, Cherie Blair was visibly in a good mood and commented on new evidence and the fact that she knows the judge well. Todorić briefly spoke to the press: “I would like to thank the English court on this decision. We got additional time to show the truth we are fighting for. This is not my win, but a win for all those fighting against corruption in Croatia.”

Talking to a British attorney I learned that the fact Todorić is represented by a local and respectable legal team could have positive effects on his attempts to prove he is politically persecuted in Croatia. The judge provided an opportunity for a new hearing despite lack of new concrete evidence, which is why he pointed out that he will expect only new evidence at the hearing, rather than just expansion of presented evidence.

Largely foreigners

James Hines noted that, since the decision adopted in spring, a lot has happened on political basis, including accusations of ties between Croatian prosecutors and ranking politicians in Croatia. The case of Ivica Todorić is nothing strange for the London Court, noted my interlocutor, who insisted on remaining anonymous due to nature of his work.

As many as three quarters of cases that end up on the High Court in London are brought by foreign citizens, who are frequently in conflict with the Governments of their respective countries. Especially frequent are the cases from USA, Middle Eastern countries and countries of the former USSR. The Court in London is seen as an independent legal harbor where many who do not have trust in legal systems of their countries find refuge.

After the ruling, Ivica Todorić, visibly in a good mood, gave a short statement to the press in the company of his attorneys Jadranka Sloković and Cherie Blair, but he did not allow additional questions

Attorney Hines said that a lot has happened on political basis since spring. He was thinking about the “Borg scandal”

Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version