STA, 7 July 2020 - The Ljubljana city council has confirmed changes to the municipal spatial plan for a former industrial area in the borough of Vič, where a residential complex is planned to be built. Several councillors have raised the issue of the investors including Mihael Karner, a Slovenian who is wanted by the US.
The council confirmed the project in a 21:15 vote on Monday to transform the site of the former Tovil factory in the south-western borough into a complex featuring 140 apartments, including up to 60 assisted living apartments.
The approximate location of the project
The main investor in the Urban Oasis project is entrepreneur Mihael Karner, who is being sought by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with an international warrant for alleged distribution and import of anabolic steroids and money laundering.
Gregor Slabe of the Democrats said he was convinced that the US services were monitoring today's session and that they would certainly make a record of which councillors had endorsed Karner's project.
"The US is requesting extradition of Karner, his wife and brother. Since you failed to support our proposal to withdraw this disputable item from the agenda, you will be the ones held responsible for international diplomatic consequences," he added.
Igor Horvat (SDS) noted that, according to the media, the investors were companies which had not had any revenue recently, and no employees. He added that the plan's approval might jeopardise Slovenia's international reputation.
There is concern that Ljubljana will only get another construction pit, said Ksenija Sever, also of the SDS. "The investors will get loans, sell apartments, and then vanish, so that taxpayers can pay for another banking hole."
Asta Vrečko of the Left added that the investors were problematic and that the "municipality is doing favours to very disputable companies".
Vice Mayor Aleš Čerin, who chaired the session due to the absence of Mayor Zoran Janković, who is in quarantine after having a contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus, said that the spatial plan was not about an individual investor, but spatial planning.
"Nowhere is written that the gentlemen you spoke about will be the actual investors", he said, adding that they were Slovenian citizens who had no criminal record in Slovenia.