Mayor of Ljubljana Under Investigation
As the last polls show that Zoran Janković is gaining political support, the public was “mysteriously” flooded with information regarding new scandals connected to his work prior to entering politics. Ljubljana Mayor and Positive Slovenia (PS) leader, Zoran Janković, once again rejected any wrongdoing in three separate cases of suspect deals that have been making headlines in recent weeks.
Janković, who was the chairman of retailer Mercator before entering politics, denied any irregularities in the purchase of a site for a Mercator store in Serbia’s Niš for which he is being investigated, along with three other suspects. While stressing that the matter was still in the investigation phase and that no indictment had yet been issued, he explained in a press release that he was not the one who conducted talks on the purchase of the site or sign the contract.
“However as the Chairman at the time I am of course also responsible for all the activities in the period when I was running Mercator,” he wrote, adding that the EUR 100,000 that is believed to have been pocketed in the deal was illegally paid for the building permit. Regarding reports that criminal elements are suspected in a EUR 15m transaction by the Ljubljana municipality with the Grep company involving the construction of the Ljubljana Stožice arena, Janković said that it was from the media recently that he found out about Grep lending a part of the sum.
He has no problem with Grep lending EUR 1m to a firm called Baza Dante, which allegedly then transferred EUR 400,000 to KLM Naložbe, in which Janković has a 62.5% stake and EUR 100,000 to handball club Krim, where Janković is honorary president. He stressed that Grep was repaid the full loan by Baza Dante in January this year, including 7% interest and wondered how there can still be claims that EUR 400,000 was pocketed in the process. “This simply does not add up.”
Commenting on the accusations that he helped Baza Dante benefit in 2010 from the re-zoning of a 15,000 m2 plot of land owned by the firm, Janković said that he was not the one who proposed that the land be re-zoned from education/health to housing. He stressed that the area had already been marked for housing in a plan back in 1986, while the Ljubljana municipality confirmed the intention in 2002, before his time as mayor. Having repeated on several occasions that he was the victim of a political campaign, Janković asked for official documents to be released so that he can defend himself in an official way. “I trust the rule of law and have been urging responsible bodies for years to do their work and allow the public to be informed in a fair way instead of misleading it with partial ‘leaks’ of confidential documents”.
Zoran Jankovič has huge support inside his party
The council of the opposition Positive Slovenia (PS) expressed their full support of the PS President and Ljubljana Mayor, Zoran Janković, rejecting his proposal for a confidence vote in the face of the accusations regarding transactions between the Ljubljana municipality and a company owned by Janković. Members of the PS Party council rejected the vote, arguing they were familiar with the case and saw no need for such a step.”We have his word that he will resign if there is any indication that he committed a criminal act or pocketed a single euro of public funds. We are completely happy with that,” President of the Council, Vasja Butina stated, adding that Janković enjoyed the full trust of the council of the biggest party in parliament.
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