Higher court annuls bribery case ruling

Ljubljana – The Ljubljana Higher Court has annulled a ruling by the Ljubljana District Court sentencing orthopaedic surgeon Gregor Kavčič of the Novo Mesto hospital to three years in prison for allegedly accepting bribes from a medical supplier. A retrial was ordered, but the case will probably become statue barred.

The Higher Court upheld the defendant’s appeal, so Kavčič will not have to serve the sentence or pay the EUR 50,00 fine, Kavčič’s lawyer Boštjan Penko told the STA.

The prosecution had claimed that Kavčič received EUR 106,898 in bribes from medical supplier Emporio Medical in cash or to a bank account in Austria between March 2008 and April 2012 in exchange for having the company supply knee replacement products by Biomet to the Novo Mesto hospital.

Kavčič had strongly denied the charges, claiming the money was not a bribe but fees for training he had conducted with Biomet for years.

The Higher Court now ruled that the first-instance court should have taken into consideration some of the evidence put forward by the defendant’s legal team pertaining to payments Kavčič received to his account that would corroborate the payments were not bribes.

In not doing so, the District Court has, according to the Higher Court, not fully established all facts of the situation, Penko said.

The court ordered a retrial, but according to Penko the case will become statue barred at the beginning of August.