Hypo Bank Corruption Trial Collapses After Most Defendants Don’t Appear in Court

By , 13 Mar 2018, 13:38 PM Business
Hypo Bank Corruption Trial Collapses After Most Defendants Don’t Appear in Court Wikimedia

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The trial, which has already lasted more than two years, will now have to start again. 

STA, March 13, 2018 – The trial of four former managers of the dissolved Hypo group who are accused of defrauding the Hypo bank of millions of euros will have to start over after two years and over 60 hearings, newspapers Delo and Dnevnik reported on Tuesday.

Only one of the four defendants in the case, former CEO of Hypo Alpe Adria Consultance Andrej Oblak, made it to a hearing on Monday.

This triggered a provision of the criminal procedure act under which a trial must return to the beginning if three months have passed since the last successful hearing.

In the case against Oblak and former chairmen of Hypo Alpe Adria Bank Anton Romih and Božidar Špan, and former CEO of Hypo Leasing Andrej Potočnik, the last successful hearing was held on 13 December.

The four are accused of defrauding the Hypo bank of EUR 22m in contentious property deals and hiding the money in tax havens.

In addition to the four defendants, Hilda Tovšak, the former boss of bankrupt builder Vegrad who is in prison for abuse of office in other cases, was also in the dock, but she pleaded guilty in exchange for a suspended sentence of a year and a half.

The trial has been mired in trouble from the get-go, with the court forced to throw out evidence obtained from employees of a Luxembourg law firm because they had not been properly informed of their rights.

This led to the exclusion of judge Srečko Škrabec, because he had been informed about the contents of the evidence.

Moreover, three years will have passed in May since the charges have been filed, which means that the defendants will regain access to their assets if the trial does not end by then.

However, there is still plenty of time until the case becomes statute barred in 2026.

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