London

Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric arrested in London

logo of the Balkans" main food producer and retailer Agrokor Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Food group Agrokor is Croatia's largest private company

A businessman described as one of Europe's "most wanted" fugitives has been arrested in the UK.

Ivica Todoric, 66, denies accusations of fraud and corruption in his native Croatia, where he founded its biggest private company, Agrokor.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued after the firm collapsed, having amassed debts of over 5 billion euro.

Mr Todoric was granted bail at Westminster Magistrates' Court after handing himself in to the Met Police.

The businessman, who intends to contest his extradition, was ordered to pay £100,000 security.

Timothy Otty QC, representing Mr Todoric, said the case is "far from being run of the mill".

Mr Otty alleged the charges against Mr Todoric were "tailored" and there were also geo-political considerations relating to "perceived Russian influence".

Unsustainable debts

Mr Todoric founded Agrokor in 1989 and served as CEO until April, when a government-appointed crisis manager took control.

The firm, the Balkans' main food producer, is facing bankruptcy proceedings.

Mr Todoric, who denies any wrongdoing, is accused of falsifying accounts to hide unsustainable debts estimated at £4.8bn (€5.4bn).

Criminal prosecutions have begun in Croatia against 14 senior figures at Agrokor, including Mr Todoric, on suspicions of corruption and forgery.