Friday, August 27, 2010

Former Slovenia PM Took Patria Cash

Slovenian prosecutors have filed charges against former prime minister Janez Jansa over alleged bribery in the biggest defense deal signed by Slovenia yet, media reported Aug. 27.

"The Slovenian prosecution filed charges on Aug. 6 before the Ljubljana regional court against Janez Jansa" as well as four others, the weekly Mladina reported.

The charges accused the defendants of "giving or accepting bribery or bribery promises," it added.

During negotiations that led to a 278 million euro ($352 million) deal with Finnish defense company Patria in 2006, Jansa accepted a promised bribe from the company to his Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), Mladina wrote.

Jansa did not, however, meet any Patria representative and the bribe was agreed through mediators, it said.

Jansa signed a contract with Patria in 2006 for 135 armored vehicles, Slovenia's biggest military contract yet. Weeks before the 2008 elections, a Finnish television report alleged that several high-ranking Slovenian officials, including Jansa, had taken bribes from Patria.

In a statement published Aug. 27 on the SDS website, Jansa rejected the accusations and said that the prosecution had not yet officially notified him of the charges.

"Neither I nor any SDS official has ever requested or received any rewards or payments related to the Patria deal," he said in the statement.

But he added: "if anybody from the SDS did misuse my name without authorization during the negotiations, that is wrongdoing that can be proven."

He argued the accusation was filed, like in 2008, ahead of October elections, in a bid to distract the public from the failings of the current center-left government led by Prime Minister Borut Pahor.

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