Slovenia Reaches First Settlement With LB Deposit Holder


The settlement between Slovenia and Aziz Sadžak, one of three applicants in the Ališić vs Slovenia case that ended in the landmark ruling in July 2014, is the first after the country adopted a compensation scheme to repay LB deposit-holders in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In line with the settlement, reached after Slovenia passed a law implementing a EUR 385m compensation scheme on 22 June, Sadžak will be repaid nearly EUR 100,000 for the deposit plus interest and EUR 4,000 in non-material damage, according to his lawyer.

Finance Ministry State Secretary Irena Sodin and High Representative Ana Polak Petrič said the development was an important message for the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) which is scheduled to review the implementation of the compensation scheme in September.

The message was echoed by Sadžak's lawyer Beslan Mujčin, who said it is also a signal to the other people with outstanding deposits that they can expect to get fair compensation.

Mujčin announced that the lead applicant in the landmark case, Emina Ališić, has also confirmed by phone she would accept a settlement with Slovenia, but the deal has not yet been finalised because he had not yet obtained formal proxy documents.

The settlement with Sadžak has been reached in spite of the fact that the law implementing the compensation scheme envisages that deposit-holders will be able to file claims as of 1 December this year. This does not apply in cases which have already been decided by the European Court of Human Rights, said Sodin.

The law implementing the compensation scheme sets down provisions for verifying entitlement to compensation and interest rate calculations. After receiving an application, Slovenia will have three months to verify the claim and 30 days to pay out compensation for those found to be eligible.

The Ališić vs Slovenia case ended in a pilot judgement that applies to all other similar cases. There were a total of 1,850 cases related to unpaid Yugoslav-era deposits involving 8,000 applicants.

Sodin said that there are around 230,000 former LB deposit-holders in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina with outstanding foreign currency deposits.

While Slovenia has implemented the ruling by the Strasbourg court, Polak Petrič stressed that the country is still unhappy with the finding that Slovenia was fully responsible for the outstanding LB deposits.

Slovenia maintains that the deposits were guaranteed and should have been repaid using a territorial principle, with each former Yugoslav republic assuming the burden on their territory. This is what Slovenia did.

It has highlighted that LB's subsidiaries in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were also owed substantial amounts by local businesses – money which could have been used to repay the deposit-holders.

Earlier this year the European Court of Human Rights threw out as inadmissible a case brought by Slovenia against Croatia for failing to provide recourse to LB to claim an unpaid loan from a Croatian company.

Polak Petrič said today that Slovenia continued to examine ways with which the country will demand repayment from Croatia and Bosnia for money owed to LB which has never been collected.