Medical Staff Indicted for Bribery, Money Laundering, Falsification and Destruction of Documents.

By , 06 Aug 2018, 16:08 PM News
Medical Staff Indicted for Bribery, Money Laundering, Falsification and Destruction of Documents. flickr: Marco Verch, CC by 2.0

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STA, 6 August 2018 - The Specialised Prosecution Service filed an indictment against 15 individuals who were allegedly involved in a scheme in which doctors were paid kickbacks by medical equipment suppliers.

The case is related to a series of house searches conducted across the country in 2013, according to a report by the news website 24ur.com which was confirmed by the Ljubljana District Court on Monday.

The suspects have been charged with accepting bribes, money laundering and falsification and destruction of documents.

Medical equipment suppliers allegedly offered kickbacks to employees in public health institutions in order to make sure the institutions purchased their products.

A cut of between 5% and 20% intended for the bribes had allegedly been factored in the prices of supplies. The investigators at the time estimated the scheme caused EUR 1.18m in loss to public funds.

The bribes of between 10,000 and 101,000 euro were allegedly paid by suppliers into personal bank accounts that had been opened for the purpose in Austria, Germany and Croatia.

The investigators also uncovered cash and gold bars with the suspects. The National Bureau of Investigation has moved to protect the illegal proceeds in the suspects' bank accounts and properties.

The doctors alleged to have taken bribes include UKC Ljubljana Orthopaedics head Vane Antolič, orthopaedic surgeon Robert Cirman of the Valdoltra hospital in Ankaran and orthopaedic surgeon Gregor Kavčič of the Novo Mesto hospital.

The alleged suspects also include surgeon Miodrag Vlaović of the Celje hospital, radiologists Zoran Milošević of UKC Ljubljana and Jožef Matela of UKC Maribor, as well as the heads of the pharmacies at the Valdoltra hospital and the Ljubljana Oncology Institute, Nataša Faganeli and Monika Sonc.

The Specialised Prosecution Service said in a statement in the afternoon that indictments were filed against 15 persons and one legal entity.

The 15 suspects include eight doctors, two of their family members, two pharmacists and three sales representatives. The prosecution believes that three suspects received kickbacks worth around EUR 100,000, while two got even more.

Ten individuals working at hospitals were indicted with accepting prohibited gifts. Two of them were also indicted with money laundering and one with the forging or destroying of documents and hindering investigation.

Moreover, three persons were indicted with giving of prohibited gifts and two with money laundering.

The indictments are more than 500-pages long in total and include more than 20,000 additional documents, the Specialised Prosecution added.

The Ljubljana District Court said it had received a lorry-load of documents related to the case, an indication of just how complex the case is.

It also warned processing the evidence would take "longer than the general public or politicians" might expect.

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