Slovenia: Interior Minister Sentenced for Money Laundering
Slovenian courts sentenced two ex-top government officials, including former interior minister Igor Bavcar, for money laundering and unlawful stock trading, the Agence France-Presse reports.
Bavcar, former head of tourism and of the energy company Istrabenz, was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office and money laundering. Bavcar was also required to return $27.6 million he earned from illegal chain trading of shares. The shares represented a 7.3 percent stake in Istrabenz.
Ljubljana District Court Judge Vladislava Lunder said at the sentencing that the chain trading was Bavcar’s way of unlawfully obtain financial benefits.
The deal was made in 2007 and organized with Bosko Srot, the former head of Slovenia’s largest brewery Pivovarna Lasko. Srot was convicted of unlawful trading and abuse of office that lead to a $31.7 million loss to his company.
Slovenia is in a recession and many fear the situation involving its state-owned banks is dire enough a bailout will be required.
Bavcar was interior minister during the first democratically elected governments and played a role in Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. He led Slovenia’s EU accession negotiations until he left politics to become director of Istrabenz in 2002.
Both Bavcar and Srot have denied the allegations and plan on appealing the court’s decision.