STA, March 6, 2018 – The opposition Democrats (SDS) has been indicted over two contentious loans it took out last year, Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel told the STA on Tuesday. The SDS came under fire in January for getting a EUR 450,000 loan from a Bosnian national, soon followed by reports of another contentious loan from a company.
Vesel said the court had indicted the party because it had found irregularities with the two loans in a pre-audit launched after media reports of the loan taken out from Dijana Đuđić from Prijedor on 19 December.
Under the loan agreement, the 32-year-old Đuđić was obligated to pay out the loan in three instalments of EUR 150,000, but the law puts the ceiling for party loans from individuals at ten times the value of the average gross monthly pay or around EUR 15,800 per year.
The SDS said it would pay the fine if the loan was found to be unlawful and repaid it soon after the story broke out.
Less than two weeks later, the newspaper Dnevnik reported that the party had taken out another controversial loan when it borrowed EUR 60,000 from publisher Nova Obzorja last August.
This runs contrary to the provision that parties can only borrow from banks, savings banks and individuals.
The SDS has a 44.2% stake in Nova Obzorja, which was also put up as collateral in the loan secured with Đuđić.
If found guilty, the SDS will be faced with a fine of between EUR 4,200 and EUR 21,000, and the responsible person with a fine of between EUR 450 and EUR 900, in each case.
The Court of Audit has not decided yet whether it would undertake a comprehensive audit of the party's operations. Moreover, the decision is confidential, Vesel added.
However, he noted that the court was obliged by law to audit every four years political parties which get more than EUR 10,000 in public funds.