Guilty pleas in Tušmobil abuse of office case

Celje – Mirko Tuš, once one of Slovenia’s wealthiest businessmen, and his wife Tanja Tuš have pleaded guilty to abuse of office and money laundering and will receive suspended prison sentences and fines totalling more than half a million euro.

The news that the couple pleaded guilty was revealed on Wednesday as the main hearing was supposed to start at the Celje District Court over a case concerning the transfer between 2011 and 2016 of the Tušmobil mobile telephony brand that was reported by creditors as an attempted fraud.

Mirko Tuš, who founded and used to head the once sprawling Tuš retail and entertainment empire, pleaded guilty in exchange for a two-year suspended prison sentence with a three-year probation and a fine of 450,000 EUR.

Tuning in via videocall from Brazil, he said he decided to sign the guilty plea because of health problems.

For Tanja Tuš, the plea involves a suspended prison sentence of one year with a two-year probation plus a fine of EUR 90,000.

The judge, Marko Brišnik, accepted the plea but the procedure will not end until damages claims by two companies that Mirko Tuš used to own, Tuš Holding and Engrotuš, have been resolved.

The two companies are seeking EUR 35.4 million in damages and the transfer of all Tuš brands back to Engrotuš.

Mirko Tuš used to own a network of companies that included the retail chain Tuš, a chain of multiplex cinemas and a virtual mobile operator.

The highly leveraged empire entered bankruptcy protection in 2014 after an aggressive expansion and has since been sold off piece by piece.