STA, 30 April 2019 - The Ljubljana Local Court has drastically reduced the fine originally issued to the opposition Democrats (SDS) in connection to the first of two violations of the political parties act, while only issuing a reprimand as opposed to a fine in connection to the second, shows a report by the weekly Demokracija.
The SDS, which has made headlines over two contentious loans it took out in 2017, was indicted by the Court of Audit in March 2018 and found guilty by the local court earlier this year, but reports about the details have been conflicting.
The Local Court, which maintains that the largest parliamentary party broke the law in both cases, has revised upon the SDS's appeal both of its original verdicts reached in fast-track procedure.
While it originally ordered the party to pay EUR 20,000 and its head Janez Janša EUR 2,000 over a EUR 60,000 loan illegally taken out from the publisher Nova Obzorja, it later reduced the fines to EUR 4,200 and EUR 500, respectively.
The SDS told the STA that it is also not happy with the revised verdict and is challenging it at the Higher Court.
The party will on the other hand probably not appeal the revised decision of the Local Court in the segment of the case pertaining to a EUR 450,000 loan taken out with Bosnian citizen Dijana Đuđić.
The court initially issued a EUR 4,200 fine to the party and EUR 450 to Janša, but later decided to only issue a reprimand and have them cover the costs of the court procedure.
Parties can only borrow from banks and savings banks, or a limited amount from individuals. The Đuđić loan vastly exceeded this amount.
The SDS returned the first instalment, EUR 150,000, it had already received from the then 32-year-old Bosnian immediately after the Court of Audit's opinion, which the Local Court listed as a mitigating circumstance. It also noted that the loan agreement had been approved by a notary.