Ex-Church treasurer suing state over prosecution, imprisonment

Ljubljana – Mirko Krašovec, a former treasurer of the Maribor Archdiocese who has been acquitted of fraud in EU funds and of involvement in a resale of shares, is suing the state for EUR 700,000 in damages for unjustified prosecution and four months of unjustified imprisonment, the newspaper Večer reports on Monday.

Krašovec was accused of having solicited to misuse of EUR 1.77 million in EU funds in 2009 as part of renovation of the archdiocese’s Betnava Mansion in the city Maribor.

He was also acquitted together with several defendants in the publisher Mladinska Knjiga case which centred around a 2004 resale of the publisher’s shares.

Krašovec is suing for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage in both cases after he failed to settle with the state, which had offered him a symbolic compensation.

At a hearing at the Ljubljana Local Court last week, Krašovec’s lawyer Velimir Cugmas asked the court to look into the court file of ex-Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler, who is suing the state for unjustified prosecution demanding EUR 660,000, arguing the two cases are similar in that they pertain to the same legal issue.

Kangler, now a state secretary, has recently been awarded EUR 50,000 in damages for wrongful conviction of seven months in prison, while a higher court also overturned a first-instance court decision to dismiss Kangler’s claim for loss of income and mental anguish, asking it to decide again on a potential compensation.

The next hearing is scheduled for 8 June, when Krašovec will take the stand, while the court has also asked a medical expert to assess Krašovec’s health condition.

This is because Krašovec claims his prosecution affected his health while tarnishing his reputation as the case also caught the attention of foreign media amid pressure from the Vatican.

The damages suit also suggests that as a church dignitary, Krašovec was politically persecuted with state institutions taking it out on him.

Krašovec was sentenced to prison in the Betnava case two times, the first time to three years in December 2013, the second time to two years in December 2015 before being acquitted at the second retrial in October 2018.

The Specialised State Prosecution challenged the acquittal, but a higher court upheld the first-instance court’s decision just before the case would fall under the statute of limitations.