Doctor sentenced to three years in prison for accepting bribe

Ljubljana – Neuroradiologist Zoran Milošević has been found guilty of accepting EUR 101,300 in gifts and of money laundering, and sentenced to three years in prison and fined EUR 50,000. The ruling is not yet final, and his defence has already announced an appeal.

However, the Ljubljana District Court did not accept the prosecution’s proposals to freeze Milošević’s medical licence for two years as it passed the verdict on Monday, while ordering that the unlawfully obtained money be seized and the defendant cover the court fees.

Milošević has been found guilty of receiving the money between June 2008 and August 2012 from representatives of the Emporio Medical company in exchange for UKC Ljubljana hospital keeping buying brain aneurysm closure coils made by Boston Scientific/Target Therapeutics.

The money was transferred to his bank account in Croatia and his son’s bank account in Switzerland from accounts of Newport Medical Handels, an Austrian company associated with Emporio Medical.

As a member of UKC Ljubljana commissions for public tenders, Milošević was also found guilty of influencing decisions with his expert opinions so that Emporio Medical was always selected.

His lawyer Milan Krstić claimed that as a member of public tenders commissions, Milošević only assessed the quality of individual anonymous offers thus having no influence on which suppliers UKC Ljubljana chose.

“The ruling will be annulled because it is not based on evidence but on fabrication,” his lawyer told the STA on Monday.

Krstić criticised the court for allowing all evidence proposed by the prosecution while turning down all put forward by the defence.

Prosecutor Iztok Krumpak claimed the opposite, proposing four years in prison for accepting bribe and eight months for money laundering, or four years and six months in total.

Due to ill health, Miloševič was not present in the courtroom when the verdict was handed down.

The trial was part of a major corruption scandal that broke out in December 2013 when police carried out house searches at almost 60 addresses around Slovenia.

At the centre of the story was Emporio Medical, which gave gifts to doctors, who in return continued to order medical supplies from a specific supplier.

Initially, Emporio Medical’s former owner and director Urška Jurkovič and her mother and co-owner Ana Jurkovič were also accused of bribery.

However, charges were not filed against them because they are credited with helping discover the criminal offences of unauthorised acceptance and giving of gifts.

At the pre-trial hearing, all defendants were offered lower sentences in exchange for pleading guilty, which no one did.

Given a large number of defendants, the judge decided to split the trial into three smaller trials.

Milošević was tried together with his son Mihael Štamberger Milošević, accused of laundering the money at his Swiss bank account, but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence last September.

Another group features orthopedist Gregor Kavčič, who received three years in prison in January, while the trial is yet to conclude for pharmacist Nataša Faganeli and Jani Šturm, an ex-manager of Emporio Medical.

The largest group featured five doctors (Vane Antolič, Rok Vengust, Samo Karl Fokter, Robert Janez Cirman and Miodrag Vlaović), and sales person at Emporio Medical Darko Žafran.

In February, the Higher Court upheld the guilty verdicts for three doctors and Žafran, while Fokter was technically acquitted because the crime had became statute barred, and Vlaović had been temporarily excluded from the trial for health reasons.