STA, 1 December 2020 - The Novo Mesto police have concluded a multi-year investigation into a major business fraud scheme in the Posavje and Dolenjska regions. A number of suspects, including companies, face charges for causing damage to creditors, violating basic workers' rights, forgery, and tax evasion, among other crimes.
The head of crime investigators at the Novo Mesto police department, France Božičnik, said at today's online press conference that a total of 1,864 instances of economic crime had been detected during the investigation.
The suspects and some companies conducting 766 crimes systematically, damaging creditors and violating basic workers' rights, including by not paying contributions. Thus, they caused more than EUR 8.2 million in damage.
Police have found that four employers from Posavje and one from Novo Mesto were transferring their operations from their over-indebted companies to new companies with the debts mostly stemming from non-payment of contributions, wages and taxes.
The investigation involved state prosecutors, the Financial Administration, the Novo Mesto Financial Office and the Novo Mesto branch of the Labour Inspectorate.
Police have also found irregularities in family reunification procedures, launched by 62 employees, mostly coming from third countries or Kosovo, with the help of employers. The employees, working mainly in construction and bakeries, were filing requests for family reunification, stating false data on their income.
A total of 1,098 crimes were detected, including notarization of false document, and forging or destroying business documents.
The wages of the employees contained fictitious costs, including unrealistic rises in gross pay, fictitious commuting and travel costs, lunch allowances, performance bonuses and compensation for separation, Božičnik said.
As part of the investigation, police conducted more than 30 house searches and seized a number of documents, electronic devices and other pieces of evidence. The procedures were conducted in cooperation with the Krško and Novo Mesto district state prosecutor's offices.
Božičnik noted that notarization of false document carried a sentence of up to three years in prison, forgery or destroying of business documents was punished by up to two years or up to eight years in case of huge material damage to creditors. Violation of basic workers' rights carries a sentence of up to five areas and tax evasion can be punished with up to eight years in prison.