NEWS

Extradition for Croat suspect

A Greek court ordered yesterday the extradition to Zagreb of a Croat businessman suspected of financing and harboring a top war crimes suspect, court sources said, in a development that may help Croatia’s membership talks with the European Union. Hrvoje Petrac, 50, will appeal the decision to the Greek Supreme Court, according to his lawyer Alexis Kouyias. Croatia has requested Petrac’s extradition after he was arrested in January with a forged passport at the western port of Igoumenitsa aboard a ship bound for Italy. A Croatian court earlier this year sentenced Petrac in absentia to six years in prison for kidnapping. The Croatian government has identified him as a key assistant to fugitive Croatian General Ante Gotovina, wanted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. The EU in March put off negotiations with Croatia for membership, on the grounds that Zagreb is not trying hard enough to track down Gotovina. It is not known when Petrac’s lawyer will lodge his appeal or how long it will be before the case is heard.