Croatia to Challenge UN Tribunal Ruling on INA-Mol Row
(Bloomberg) -- Croatia will challenge a 2016 ruling by the United Nations trade tribunal that upheld a deal that gave control of its main energy company INA Industrija Nafte d.d. to Hungary’s Mol Nyrt.
“We will seek a revision against the arbitration decision at the Swiss federal court,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic told cabinet in Zagreb on Thursday. “It is our duty as the government to start a legal procedure.”
In 2016, the UN’s Commission on International Trade Law, a trade tribunal designated earlier as the arbiter in case of a dispute, dismissed Croatia’s claims that the 2019 INA shareholder agreement should be voided. The government subsequently lost an appeal at the Swiss federal court.
Thursday’s move follows the Croatian supreme court’s confirmation in October of a guilty verdict against Mol Chairman Zsolt Hernadi on bribery charges relating to the agreement. Hernadi denies all allegations.
The legal dispute has been at the center of a tug-of-war between Mol -- which owns 49% of INA but has had management rights over the Croatian refiner -- and the Croatian state, which owns 44.84% of the Zagreb-based company.
The government will also seek to void part of the 2009 agreement with Mol, in which Croatia agreed to take over INA’s money-losing gas unit. Subsequent governments never followed with the plan and Mol meanwhile has sued Croatia for breaching contractual obligations.
Croatia will also halt talks with Mol over buying back its INA stake amid new legal circumstances, Plenkovic said. The two sides have been negotiating since the government announced its intention to buy out Mol’s stake in INA five years ago.
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