SEPTEMBER 25 2007 14:30h

How Ivica Todoric Built His Empire


During Croatian privatisation, Todoric takes suspicious million loans and slowly takes over company by company.

Ivica Todoric, one of the most famous tycoons in former Yugoslavia and the way he obtained his wealth were some of the topics of last night`s Latinica Croatian Radio-Television show under the name “How Croatian Tycoons Made It”. With Todoric, the show covered other “disputable” figures of the 90`s privatisation like Zubak, Luka Rajic and Petrac. But, the story about the beginnings of Ivica Todoric drew most attention.

Thus, according to the author, Todoric welcomed the creation of the new Croatian state with over a million German marks he had stored on a Swiss bank account, which he made by selling flowers. Namely, Todoric covered 40 percent of the Yugoslav florist market at the time and based on earned money, he took out a loan to purchase Zadar- based soy plant.

But he did not stop at the loan. During Croatian privatisation, Todoric took out suspicious million loans and slowly took over company by company.

Loans with a lone of “wondrous” clauses

In the story by reporter Andreja Arezina, for the first time in Croatia a part of the documentation was published which shows Todoric obtaining a loan with the Zagrebacka Bank in 1993, under privileged terms, in the amount of 7,610,000 German marks at the time from the old currency savings funds and the loan was intended to purchase shares of the First Croatian Oil Factory and DIP Turopolje.

Signed loans have had a line of wondrous clauses.

For instance, when it comes to the mortgage, according to the contract terms, contract signees` names and functions were not specified. A year of delay was approved for payment of the premiums, without specifying when the deadline ends because there is no date on this loan`s contract. Interest rates were three times lower than the usual rates at the time.

Due to the entire business and purchase of shares with loans during 1991 and 1992, the State Attorney`s Office started an investigation of Agrokor company and Todoric and the inquest initiative was submitted by the Parliament and the Croatian National Bank. Response from the chief director of Zagrebacka Bank Office from April 30, 1993, which Latinica also exclusively disposes with, discards all possible irregularities.

But, the interesting thing is that all figures in the investigation are keeping quiet today.

During those years, Todoric purchased “half of Croatia” and his most famous move was definitely the takeover of the then Unikonzum, today most famous retail chain in Croatia, Konzum.

Todoric had the support of the state top

Latinica report informs that, before the shares were handed over to Agrokor, they were placed for public bidding, however, they were revoked in six months` time. They were not present anywhere, even though there was a law obliging the Privatisation Fund to issue them out. The shares disappeared for a period of about six months and appeared a week before the sale, just to be purchased by Agrokor.

Ivica Todoric was close to the state top in the 90`s and Nikica Valentic was his school friend, who was Croatian prime minister from 1993 to 1995. During this period he was the president of the newly founded Croatian Employers` Association, state top attended the opening of his Konzum shops, he met with the first Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, made unselfish donations to the “For the Children of Croatia” fund, run by Ankica Tudjman, he took the Freedom train to the liberated parts of the country, along with the very Croatian political top.

Nevenka Tudjman is also mentioned in the story of reporter Arezina, and is linked with Todoric as a subcontractor to Agrokor with a cornet factory for the necessities of Ledo ice-cream company, which Todoric merged with Agrokor. A scandal followed where Todoric obtained Ledo at a several times lower cost than a foreign bidder.

Three million euro worth home

Agrokor concern is too big today to fail and no state authority will allow this because, if Todoric should decide to sell out the concern and fire people, he would seriously endanger Croatia.

For the third year in a row, the company distributes profit to its employees, making it a unique example in Croatia and at the moment it hires about 30,000 people in Croatia and abroad.

This former florist is today one of the richest people in Croatia. He flies in a private Bell 407 plane, one of the most luxurious in the world and lives in a renovated castle Kulmer in Zagreb`s Sestine neighbourhood, which cost him about 3 million euro. Allegedly, he has no private property in Croatia, but several hundreds million of his euros alone, is on a secret account at one of the Swiss banks.