The Slovenia Times

Prosecution Proposing 2-Year Prison Sentence for EX PM Janša Over Patria



Supreme State Prosecutor Andrej Ferlinc argued that Janša, who was PM between 2004-2008 when the EUR 278m armoured personnel carriers deal with Finish company Patria was clinched, had accepted at least a promise of a reward.

He said that the charges against all five defendants were valid, including against his alleged aids Anton Krkovič and Ivan Črnkovič, for whom Ferlinc demands 22 months in prison.

While an additional penalty of EUR 37,000 is being proposed for the three as well, the proposed sentences are no clear yet for Jože Zagožen, another alleged Janša aid, and alleged Patria middleman Walter Wolf, who both failed to appear in court today.

Ferlinc mentioned as an attenuating circumstance the defendants' clean record so far and Janša's and Krkovič's credit related to the independence struggle, but stressed that they had abused their high positions for dishonourable actions and have blemished the country's reputation.

The prosecutor said that corruption had bee laid down as a goal at the very start of the process, which ended with Patria's victory in the tender in 2006 over Slovenian rival Slovenska tehnika.

According to Ferlinc, money was not discussed on a speculative level, but was actually transferred into Wolf's account. He spoke of a 30% commission to the tune of EUR 2.3m, whose further distribution was not prevented by the defendants but by the banking employee who found the transaction suspicious.

While the defence started presenting its closing arguments, Janša already rejected for the press Ferlinc's claims, saying that not one of them was true or backed by a single piece of evidence.

The head of the opposition Democrats (SDS) said that the prosecutor's performance seemed political, much "like that by the army prosecutor 25 years ago" who had Janša locked up for disclosing a military secret as a journalist.

Janša even found Ferlinc to be personally more offensive than the mentioned army prosecutor and described the proposed sentence as completely absurd.

Janša's lawyer Franci Matoz, who opened the closing arguments for the defence - they will continue next Monday - echoed this, saying the wording of the charges was confusing and that Janša had not been burdened by a single piece of evidence, by none of the 34 witnesses who took the stand, nor by the guilty verdict in a separate Patria trial in Austria.

Matoz moreover argued that Janša was given no chance to defend himself as a result of the vague accusations against him and that he had had no contact to or any influence on the people making decisions in the tender.

As regards the text messages between middlemen implicating him in the scheme, Matoz said that the lobbyists, especially Patria's official middleman Wolfgang Riedl, were merely abusing Janša's name to raise their price with Patria.

Ferlinc on the other hand moreover pointed out that the case was also handled in Austria and Finland where investigators concluded too that the bribes were intended for people in Slovenia.

The final stage of the trial in Ljubljana comes after Riedl was already sentenced to three years in prison in a separate trial in Austria for bribery, attempted fraud and tax evasion for his role in channelling hundreds of thousands of euros in kickbacks to Slovenia.

Wolf, an Austrian-Slovenian businessman, was also on trial in Austria, the sentence against him however remains to be pronounced as he is still absent due to health reasons.

Moreover, the main hearing of the trial in Finland is expected to start in August, with six senior Patria figures standing accused of industrial espionage and bribery in Slovenia, Austria and Finland.


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