Comment 08 Aug 16

Doc About Tycoon Highlights Croatia’s ‘Institutional Decay’

New investigative film about Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric tells a wider story about what has happened in Croatia since independence.

Boris Pavelic
BIRN
Zagreb
Motovun Film Festival opening night on July 26. | Photo courtesy of Motovun Film Festival

Ovations and praise in the press have followed the screening of “Gazda” (“The Boss”), a Croatian investigative documentary about the business success of Croatia’s wealthiest tycoon, Ivica Todoric, premiered at the recent Motovun movie festival in Istria, Croatia.

The 70-minute film by director Dario Jurican, 40, is about the foundation and development of Todoric’s food production and distribution firm, Agrokor.

The biggest private enterprise in Croatia and one of the biggest in Southeast Europe, it employs about 60,000 workers in several countries.

Apart from Croatia, Agrokor owns important food production and distribution firms in Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Hungary, including Idea, Frikom, Dijamant, Sarajevski Kiseljak, Velpro, Mercator, Fonyodi and others.

But, in Croatia, the stereotype persists that Todoric profited unlawfully during the wars of the 1990s and with help from the then ruling party, Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

Many Croats assume this occurred within the framework of the illegal privatisation of former social enterprises, an assumption confirmed by the state revision office in 2002, which found irregularities in the privatisations of 80 per cent of Croatian firms.

Jurican decided to explore Agrokor’s image as a monopoly created by suspiciously mafia-like politics.

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