INA is our company, says Croatian PM of Hungarian-majority energy giant

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s unusual choice of words came after Croatian oil company INA’s supervisory board acknowledged the resignation of Hungarian members of INA’s board and, at the request of the Croatian government , recalled the members and appointed a new council.

Péter Ratatics was elected new chairman of the board of directors, while Berislav Gas and Krisztián Pulay were appointed members of the board of directors, on the proposal of Mol, with a mandate until June 30, 2023.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that as soon as the external auditors are selected, negotiations with the Hungarian side on changing the company’s governance will continue. “After all, INA is our company, it is here in Croatia and it is important for us in the energy crisis,” he stressed.

He expressed his displeasure that in the greatest energy crisis, at a time of huge increases in the price of gas and consequently of electricity, someone who is in charge of selling gas on behalf of INA and who gets paid for it commits a crime and nobody notices. “It caused enormous damage to the reputation of the company,” he said.

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He added that in addition to the INA, Mol’s shareholders had also suffered damages and that last month the case had caused political damage to the Croatian government, much more than to Mol, he said. he declares.

Croatia’s Corruption and Organized Crime Prosecutor’s Office arrested five people on August 27 for abuses related to the gas trade, including Damir Skugor, director of INA’s natural gas trade branch. They are accused of damaging the Croatian oil company with just over a billion kuna (132 million euros), taking advantage of the global crisis and the continuous increase in gas prices on the world market .

Mol owns 49.08% of INA, and the Hungarian oil company also has controlling rights in the company. The Croatian state owns 44.84% of the company. Plenkovic’s words can therefore only be interpreted as a sign of continued frustration with the sale 2003 of the Croatian energy giant’s majority stake in the Hungarian company MOL. Subsequent Croatian governments tried unsuccessfully to annul the sale in court and even sentenced the head of the Ministry of Labor, Zsolt Hernádi, to a prison term. in absentia. However, in July this year, MOL won an arbitration case against Croatia in a nearly nine-year lawsuit before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, DC. The verdict awarded MOL a total of approximately $236 million.

Featured photo: Twitter FIMA

Laura T. Thrasher