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Prime Minister Janša discusses the mafia-style running of the country in the National Assembly

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Prime Minister Janez Janša today attended the 28th regular session of the National Assembly, at which his response to the question raised by Deputy Matej T. Vatovec concerning corruption and the "mafia-style" running of the country was discussed. The Prime Minister presented his position on the issue.

He began by saying, "I will not be accused of putting on the agenda the subject of the "mafia-style" running of the country and the Yugoslav secret service or "UDBA mafia" and parallel mechanisms. It must be made clear that you are the ones who demanded that we discuss this and that we participate in this discussion regardless of whether we want to or not. Now that you have raised this topic, let it be known that there is much more to say on the matter than what you have read out here today. In what you read out there are more lies and insinuations than statements. None of it is true. In fact, you have more or less made these things up, or twisted them, in order to avoid discussing those in this country who are criminally operating behind the scenes. Considering everything you listed there, the only thing you didn’t blame us for is some unsigned diploma of a Supreme Court judge or something, where after many weeks of questioning there are still no simple answers as to who in the independent judicial branch of government is deciding our fate," said the Prime Minister, adding that he would be happy to present not insinuations, but a very concrete description of the "mafia" governing of the state, which, unfortunately, has deep roots in Slovenia, and which even today constitutes one of the central problems for the Slovenian people, and which is the reason why salaries and pensions are significantly lower than they could be, because too much is still being stolen.

In the debate, the Prime Minister pointed out that the second-to-last speaker had said that since this "mafia" authority had risen to government, €3.5 billion have been stolen in Slovenia, and that this was all a matter of corruption. "I have never heard such a severe example of self-criticism before, since this figure is from 2016. A study by the European Parliamentary Research Service, conducted by RAND Europe in 2016, concluded that the cost of corruption at EU level is somewhere between €180 billion and €990 billion. As Slovenia's GDP stands at 0.35% of the EU's GDP, we can conclude that the cost of corruption in Slovenia is €3.5 billion. This is calculated from estimates for Europe and from 2016. As far as I know, the left was in power at the time, or at least it was getting ready to assume power, and so were the other parties that voted for this debate. If that’s the case, then thank you for being self-critical. It’s a pretty rare occurrence here," said the Prime Minister. "Someone mentioned the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant. The news that the company that invested in and built the power plant admitted corruption and paid €240 million in fines on the basis of a procedure that this Government concluded, disappeared from the Slovenian media in one day. The company that built the TEŠ6 power plant extension has admitted to corruption in the amount of €240 million, and has paid or will pay at least that much in various forms of fines. We all know that this was a project of what I will call the "proud successors". Proven corruption. Not what is being said here about some purchases and respirators and so on and thousands of euros. 240 million euros. And where are the court proceedings? A couple of contractors are being prosecuted, probably in the court that shares a building with the Social Democrats in Velenje. If you know of a court in Slovenia that shares the same address as the Slovenian Democratic Party, then show it to me. While in Velenje you are neighbours. And corruption in the amount of 240 million euros relating to TEŠ6 is proven – with no real legal consequences. No case was brought against those who were directing this from behind the scenes. Some of the contractors are bouncing around the courts and will do so until they are acquitted, probably because they know too much," the Prime Minister pointed out.

Staff recruitment

With regard to staffing, the Prime Minister recalled the famous USB stick of the Secretary-General of the Social Democrats after the 2008 or 2011 elections, when he waved the USB, saying, "Here are the names that will replace all those who are not one of us." And now the same party is accusing others of politically motivated appointments. "It’s enough to make you cry," said the Prime Minister, "I have just read that last year, when you members of the KUL political group nominated J. P. Damijan as formateur, this same expert signed a research consultancy contract with GEN energija, last year. I believe that the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption will not find any corruption, just as it did not find any corruption in the President of the Court of Auditors' 20,000 euro a month afternoon job, because they are "elite" citizens. That says everything you need to know about the "mafia-run" state," said the Prime Minister.

Amendments to the Basic Constitutional Charter

The Prime Minister went on to read out two articles from two constitutional acts that show the origins of this development. "You won't understand the point, but I will explain it," said the Prime Minister.

"On 25 June 1991, the Slovenian Assembly at the time adopted the Constitutional Act for Implementing the Basic Constitutional Charter on the Independence and Sovereignty of the Republic of Slovenia, and paragraph two of Article 11 of this constitutional act reads as follows: 'The Republic of Slovenia shall assume an appropriate share of those state debts of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia whose direct beneficiary is not identifiable.' These are the so-called unallocated debts of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This was adopted on 25 June 1991. Then on 27 July 1994, an amendment to this constitutional act was adopted at a meeting convened on the same day. The doors of this parliament were locked, and no deputy was allowed out. The act was published on the very same day in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia. In this amendment to the constitutional act, Article 22b was added, which is widely known and which reads: 'Ljubljanska banka d.d. Ljubljana and Kreditna banka Maribor, d.d. Maribor shall transfer their business and assets to the new banks established under the provisions of this constitutional act. This is the famous decision, thanks to which, we taxpayers are still paying off the savings account holders from the branch offices of those banks. However, something was also written into this constitutional act that was not communicated at all at the time, something that only our party brought attention to, even though we had only four National Assembly deputies and one minister in the Government at the time. Article 22e was also added to the constitutional act and which reads as follows: 'The share of the debt referred to in paragraph two of Article 11 of this constitutional act shall be assumed by the Republic of Slovenia in accordance with the provisions of the new agreement with foreign commercial banks and the new bilateral agreement with the members of the Paris Club.' This constitutional act of July 1994 removed or amended paragraph two of Article 11, and in 1991 I was a member of the Constitutional Commission and of the then assembly that adopted this Constitution or this constitutional act, and we wrote it so that Slovenian taxpayers would not be forced to pay a disproportionate share of unallocated Yugoslav debts. Slovenians made up 8% of the former Yugoslavia, we accounted for about 16% of GDP, and within this framework we were willing to take on unallocated debts, that is debts that were not yet formally known in which part of Yugoslavia they were incurred, even though they were mostly not incurred in Slovenia. Now, both of these amended or complemented articles introduced in the Constitutional Act Implementing the Basic Constitutional Charter on the Independence and Sovereignty of the Republic of Slovenia had major consequences for Slovenian taxpayers," stressed the Prime Minister. He added that both cases are an example of the "mafia-style" running of the country, which through these acts had taken control of the highest legislative authority.

"Documents were placed on deputies' desks, accompanied with the words that Slovenia will go bankrupt if it does not get rid of the debts of former bank branches, that this was something they have to adopt. The voting took place under such pressure and I still do not know who voted for or against; however, in a few hours, the constitutional act was amended," explained Prime Minister Janša. "Let me now address the underlying motives. Our party was in the Government at that time and a proposal was put forward for Slovenia to sign an agreement with the Paris Club, the creditors of the former Yugoslavia, and that, under the agreement, Slovenia should settle 44% of unallocated Yugoslav debts. At that time, we were a weak coalition party with four deputies, but we managed to prevent the conclusion of this agreement. Because we kept referring to the constitutional act, Drnovšek withdrew the proposal. And what happened then? The Depala Vas affair came to light, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) was removed from the Government, the Slovenian assembly was seized by others and the amendment of the above act was adopted."

"As for the bank branches of the former Ljubljanska banka, one should know that these bank branches in Zagreb, Sarajevo and Skopje were considered independent banks in 1988 and for most of 1989. Ljubljanska banka was not liable for the savers' deposits of these banks. At the end of 1989, a meeting of Slovenian and Serbian communist party leaders was held in Belgrade. The formal event at the forefront of this meeting was the pompous opening of the Maribor's Marketing Studio branch office, attended by Milan Kučan and Slobodan Milošević. In that meeting, an agreement was adopted that Yugoslavia's capital should be integrated in such a manner that the declaration of independence would not be worth the effort. As a result, the Ljubljanska banka changed the status of independent banks in these three republics to branch banks. In the case of the Belgrade bank, the consequences of this act were far smaller than those suffered by the Ljubljana branch bank," argued the Prime Minister.  "At that time, the management board of Ljubljanska banka ordered a study on the feasibility of this act. The feasibility study produced negative results. The lady who signed off this study died in unusual circumstances and the study vanished from the archives. Today, we are paying large sums of money because we lost the case at the European Court of Human Rights related to the savers of the independent Ljubljanska banka in Zagreb, which was turned into a branch office, and because these consequences arose when Slovenia took on an disproportionately large share of unallocated debt.  "Why were we against this at that time? Because information was made public that the Safti group, you probably know who that is, an UDBA mafia organisation operating under the cover of providing aid to the Slovenian minority in Italy, and its financial institutions were buying the Yugoslav national debt on secondary markets for 10 cents per dollar and not 40 cents per dollar, which was the market price at the beginning of the breakup of Yugoslavia," said the Prime Minister. He continued: "In 1994, the value of Yugoslav debt on secondary markets declined to 10 cents per dollar. All these institutions, Micro M being one of them, undoubtedly recorded significant losses. The money transferred abroad from Slovenia was hidden during the transition and declaration of independence. When Slovenia was forced to take on the disproportionately large share of this debt, the price of the Yugoslav debt on secondary markets suddenly increased. The Slovenian Government delegation negotiating with the Paris Club and representatives included people from the Safti management board.

"We pointed that out at the time. This would all be recorded in the minutes of Government sessions and transcripts if they have not been erased yet. And this could not pass through the Government until Article 22e and paragraph two of Article 11 of the constitutional act had been amended. There has probably never been a legal act like it in the history of Slovenia, inflicting such harm to Slovenian taxpayers, double harm in fact. Has anyone been held accountable for this? Have any proceedings been initiated? Has anyone asked about the responsibility and liability after the European court passed its judgement? We are still paying for this and will probably have to continue pay for the most of these consequences in future. So much for that, so much for our national debt," remarked Prime Minister Janša.

"Coming back to– let us say – the mafia running the country, I would like to describe one of these parallel mechanisms pointed out by Rado Pezdir in his book, which reveals everything about Ljubljanska banka, its foreign branch offices, how they were established and managed, who acquired them, how the party appointed bank personnel, even after independence was declared. I have not heard anyone mentioned in this book saying that anything from this book is untrue. Everything is quiet, omertà applies, in spite of the bank, Nova Ljubljanska banka emerging as one of the instruments of mafia running the country until – let us say – the privatisation of Slovenian state-owned companies. Hopefully, the new owners have cleared up the mess, that the bank is far from what is being described here, that we are finally out of this danger. You have good financial results, so I hope we can leave this behind. But that is only recently," explained the Prime Minister. He went on to say: "I believe that it was before the 2011 elections when, replying to the question posed by the national television anchor, the Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković admitted that he called the management board of Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB) and reached an agreement for a consortium of Slovenian banks to approve a credit of €200 million for the Stožice stadium complex, which has never been repaid. We have been repaying this debt, because we have socialised it into the public debt. That man made the call, the Mayor of Ljubljana called the NLB management board and they approved the credit, he said so himself. "Nothing happened", all these proceedings regarding the abuse of European funds against him and against Roman Jakič, who is full of the rule of law and liberalism. However, because Janković stated on the national television that he would never be convicted or imprisoned, because he has always opposed SDS policies. A deputy earlier said that the SDS was a criminal organisation, which shows how upside down things have been turned," commented the Prime Minister.

Laundering of Iranian money through NLB – the biggest international crime in the history of Slovenia

"All of this has led to a situation where the biggest crime of international proportions in the history of Slovenia was possible. I believe that the colleague from the New Slovenia party was referring to this – the laundering of Iranian money through Nova Ljubljanska banka when what I call the "proud successors" were in power. The amount was not €800 million. Latest data show that $1.8 billion were laundered through Nova Ljubljanska banka at the time, one point eight billion. The money was not dispersed to 35 thousand accounts as thought at the time but to over 70 thousand different accounts. Some of the accounts were opened under the name Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck but still passed all controls – a mafia running the country. Has anyone been convicted for this? Has at least anyone been blamed for this? No. The prosecutor that dismissed the charges that were brought, or at least dismissed most of them, was even appointed to the European Public Prosecutor's Office. His colleagues in the Prosecutorial Council appointed him to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. So much for European prosecutors," said Prime Minister Janša.

He continued with the great saga of the delegated prosecutors. "Ms Kövesi said that Slovenia is suspected of illegally spending of EU money in 12 cases. But these did not occur during our term of office, these are from your term of office. That's why you are so interested in having this investigated by people close to you, so that nothing else is discovered, as it was in the Stožice case, where Mr Janković and Jakič were selling off the boiler room not by square metres but by cubic metres of air. Very innovative, I must say," commented the Prime Minister.

"When the commission of inquiry uncovered this crime of international proportions, experts concluded that Iran must be paying hundreds of millions of euros worth of commissions for the laundering of such a sum of money. So those of you who made this happen, tell me, where are all those millions? In which mass media, which non-governmental organisations and which militias? You probably did not pump the money into Caritas or the Red Cross, right? At least so far, this has not been typical. So, the supervisory authorities that should have done something in the Iran‑NLB case – the Office for Money Laundering Prevention, the criminal police, the National Bureau of Investigation, prosecution offices or courts of inquiry – 10 years, 11 years, 12 year have passed and no charges. Nothing. And now you speak of corruption?" said the Prime Minister, adding that sometimes this case and its problems come up when he talks to his European colleagues, and they just look at him in disbelief. They find it hard to believe that this is possible. "They cannot believe that it is possible for the National Assembly to unanimously adopt the commission of inquiry's report, which includes all the data on Iranian money laundering and is then sent to the Institutions, and nothing happens. They do not believe it. No one in Europe believes that the situation really is as it is," said the Prime Minister. He added that the IranNLBgate and all its international and domestic criminal consequences are the litmus test for the Slovenian criminal police, prosecution service and the judiciary. "Until the matter is investigated I do not want to hear of statistics on how much corruption has been uncovered, how it has been prosecuted, and so on and so forth. To all those of you who are advocating this, really, hats off to your ability to feign ignorance. Slovenia has a significant number of criminal investigators per capita, a significant number of prosecutors per capita, I believe a record number of judges per capita; however, when it comes to major corruption cases where the parallel mechanisms of the deep state are involved, all these people do nothing," said the Prime Minister.

"Correction, when something goes wrong for them, e.g. in the case of Judge Radonjić, who passed a judgement according to his conscience, they all come after this person, persecute them and cut them out of the system – without any fuss. But when some obscure website writes that the leader of our deputy group does not have a diploma, he has to provide proof of it the next day. National media or dependent media, such as the national television and POP TV are making a fuss because a deputy of the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia, Mr Simonovič, allegedly does not have a diploma and he has to show it to them; they keep an eye out for every word, every comma, every signature. But when there is doubt about a Supreme Court judge's diploma, no dependent media has heard of it. The Supreme Court releases a statement that all judges are appointed in line with some procedure or other, that these questions are inappropriate, that the judge will bring a court case and that the money won will be donated to charity. Is this the rule of law? Can you imagine what would happen should the suspicion arise that one of the few judges who are not involved in the parallel mechanism of the deep state did not have a diploma or had not passed the bar. Suppose such a suspicion arose in the case of Mr Jan Zobec. What a riot that would cause! Diploma specialists from the national television would stand at his door waiting for him to present his diploma. But in a case of sacred judge, the main media keep silent. The opposition doesn't ask for any commission to be convened, or any checks and so on; they all act as if this is some hideous attack on the independence of the judiciary," said the Prime Minister. "At the same time, the National Assembly appoints people without a day's worth of experience as a judge to the Supreme Court, e.g. Mr Gorkič who became a Supreme Court judge. This makes a person wonder that if someone can become a Supreme Court judge without one day's experience in the courtroom, then surely someone without a diploma can become a judge; I mean, these criteria are really watered down. You see, this is mafia running the country."

"All these procedures, ignorance, rule‑breaking, defending something because your person did it so it is not a problem and every means available must be used to defend them, then distorting the data such as that 3 and a half billion euro disappeared because of the corruption of this government, although this is a figure from 2016. Now, whether the figure is accurate or not, I do not know. But if we added all the things related to Ljubljanska banka, the parallel mechanism linked to the Slovenian banking system and all these misuses, then the figure presented is probably too low, if I was looking for an average. But you certainly won't get this figure by adding the costs of the personal protective equipment, ventilators and masks, because if it was all corruption, it would not reach 10 percent of that total," said the Prime Minister.

"I propose we talk about the real problems of the mafia running the country, which are described in great detail in Mr Pezdir's book and supported by all possible documents, including a very lenient approach when it comes to assessing individuals," said Prime Minister Janša in conclusion.