Patria Trial Resumes

Politics,  13 Dec 2011  / By STA

The main Patria defence deal bribery trial resumed at the Ljubljana Local Court, bringing the reading of the rest of the indictment, which the five defendants, including former PM Janez Janša, said they did not comprehend. The judge rejected their position as unfounded, claiming they were playing for time.

The trial, resuming after a longer pause requested by Jansa amid the election campaign, saw Supreme State Prosecutor Andrej Ferlinc completing the reading of the indictment in which Jansa stands accused of accepting an offer of a bribe to allow Finnish company Patria win the 2006 tender for 135 armoured personnel carriers.

Jansa, like the remaining defendants - Janša's former close aide Joze Zagožen and army officer Tone Krkovic are charged with accepting a bribe, Ivan Crnkovic, the boss the Slovenian company selected to supply the APCs from Patria, with offering bribes, while businessman Walter Wolf is suspected of helping him - defended themselves by arguing among other things that they did not understand the charges.

Jansa, PM when the EUR 278m deal was signed, wondered what he was actually accused of, claiming that Ferlinc had mentioned the demanding of a bribe, the accepting of a bribe as well as the accepting of a promise of a bribe.

Zagozen argued that the indictment was not clear, did not make sense and was based on "indirect inference concerning what two or three people bragged about to each other and discussed". He does "not have a clue about any money".

The lawyers of the four defendants present - Wolf was absent - all accused the prosecution of failing to present facts and circumstances that would give concreted substance to what their clients are being charges with, which violates their constitutional right to effective defence.

Ferlinc rejected this, describing the case as complex, while arguing that the indictment had all the needed elements, which are laid out even in much more detail than in Austria, where the case was also taken to court because of the involvement of Austrian middlemen.

Jansa told the media after the hearing that the "prosecutor was speaking in favour of the concept of thoughtcrime, which was familiar in Slovenia until 1990".

Judge Barbara Klajnsek rejected the reasoning of the defendants, saying that all of them had lawyers who can help them understand the indictment. She believes their step was meant to delay the trial, which will continue on 19 December.
 

Tags: Patria, Janez Janša


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