The Slovenia Times

Fraud Flooding Slovenia



In the first major real estate fraud (the case of Zbilje grove), people who bought houses and apartments lost all of their money due to the bankruptcy of the investor, Mebles. Because the property these people had bought had a mortgage on it and they, as new owners had not been registered with the Register of landed property (in Slovenia this process can take a few years), apartments and houses were lost due to the bankruptcy of the investor. The victims had no bank guarantees on their payments and were thus threatened with losing both their money and the place they had bought. Politicians luckily acted after the fraud was publicly disclosed and protected the buyers. Empty-handed in the Castle But it doesn't look that good for buyers of property in Trzin castle, because the fraud in this case was even more cunning. After these people had already bought the apartments, investors took a new mortgage on the real estate they no longer owned. How was this possible? Well, again due to a long wait for entry into the Register of landed property , as well as loopholes in legislation. Currently nobody knows where investors Mr. and Mrs. Rijavec are hiding. Politicians acted in response to the Zbilje grove affair and passed a law on bank guarantees for new real estate at the end of last year. Buyers now get a bank guarantee for every payment they make until they are finally registered as owners in the Register of landed property, so if the firm goes bankrupt, they will get their money back. In addition in August this year another law will come into force that will further protect buyers of real estate by introducing so called trusteeship accounts. But unfortunately, it will be much too late for people in the infamous Castle ... The Stars of Orion The third fraud involves Orion Ltd, a credit and loans firm. . After a farmer from Prekmurje attracted the attention of TV Slovenia with a story about Orion's excessively high interest rates,, similar cases began to came to light. People who took out loans with Orion obviously had no idea they were agreeing to such high interest rates and were also selling their property for half price to the company. "The contract for selling my house was hidden among the papers I had to sign," one of the victims declared. "It seems Orion is also connected to the SIB bank affair," explained Bostjan Penko, the Director of The Office against Corruption. . The police have been monitoring Orion for several years now. The Office for the Prevention of Money Laundering announced at the beginning of February that they would investigate Orion, because the firm hadn't reported any financial transactions of over five million tolars (approximately 21,000 Euros), which it should have done according to the law. Director of the firm, Branko Luzar, refuses to appear in public, instead his lawyers claim that "Orion has a clear conscience". Where All Ends Meet Interestingly the majority of these victims of fraud signed their contracts at the same notary. Boris Lepsa legally attested to notarising the majority of contracts in all three fraud cases. Is this a coincidence? The Ministry of Justice does not think so and has started a disciplinary procedure against Mr. Lepsa. The three affairs also raise the question of the competence and responsibility of notaries. Whether a notary is only required to check the identity of both parties to the contract or whether they should also be obliged to warn people about the kind of contracts they are actually signing. Did Mr. Lepsa warn Mrs. Zupan she would be selling her house to Orion for half the valid price? Did he warn the buyers in Zbilje that the properties they were about to buy had mortgages that were registered in the Register of landed property? Many people are to blame for the various cases of fraud that have taken place but we all know who pays the price for them, don't we?


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