Ljubljana related

08 Jul 2020, 09:56 AM

STA, 7 July 2020 - National telco Telekom Slovenije signed a contract on Tuesday with Hungarian media company TV2 Media selling Planet TV, its subsidiary which produces the eponymous TV channel. TV2 Media will pay EUR 5 million for the 100% share, Telekom said in a press release. The deal is expected to be finalised by autumn.

Today's development confirms the previous media reports on the sale and the value of the deal.

Telekom's supervisors have already given the green light while all the other approvals are expected by the end of September.

TV2 Media is owned by Jozsef Vida, whom media associate with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz. Speculation that TV2 is eyeing Planet TV started in early June, when reports also mentioned Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Ćaleta as a second candidate.

The news portal Necenzurirano.si also reported about unofficial plans to merge Planet TV and Nova24TV, the news portal and website associated with the ruling Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and also in the ownership of Hungarian individuals reportedly close to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban.

Telekom launched Planet TV in 2012 under the then SDS-led Janez Janša government. It was reported that the telecoms incumbent had been looking for a strategic partner which would buy a 49% share in the TV production company already at the beginning of January, only to change its mind later on.

According to the newspaper Delo, Planet TV has cost Telekom Slovenije EUR 80 million in the form of capital injections, advertisements, loans and other services since it was launched in September 2012, and has operated in the red.

The latest blow was the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce ordering Telekom last year to pay a EUR 23 million buyout to Antenna Group, the Greek partner who wanted out of the joint venture.

Telekom, which thus became the sole owner of Planet TV, saw the buyout significantly reduce its profit last year, which reached a mere EUR 1.2 million.

After initially announcing the search for a strategic partner, Telekom said in mid-March that selling the outright stake in Planet TV was also an option.

According to Necenzurirano.si, some supervisors expressed great reservations about the sale at today's session. They argued they had been presented only the Hungarian bid, which was picked as the best by the Telekom management and a financial consultant.

Several bids had reportedly arrived, with the second and third best bidders allegedly offering only one euro for the company.

Unlike the other bidders, the Hungarians reportedly received an assurance from Telekom that it would continue to advertise on Planet TV. Telekom reportedly also pledged to turn EUR 30 million in loans into Planet TV's capital before the sale is completed.

Telekom also allegedly plans to write off some EUR 3 million in business claims and contribute another million to help keep Planet TV afloat.

The portal also says that Hungarians could extend the sales procedure until the end of the year, but in that case Telekom would have to transfer another EUR 2 million to cover Planet TV's loss.

All our stories on Slovenia and Hungary are here

30 Jun 2020, 13:15 PM

STA, 30 June 2020 - The state-owned telecoms company Telekom Slovenije has reportedly sold its troubled subsidiary Planet TV to the Hungarian free-to-air channel TV2, owned by Jozsef Vida, whom media associate with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz.

The unofficial news was broken on Tuesday by the editor of the news portal Požareport, Bojan Požar, who wrote that Planet TV, which produces the eponymous TV channel, has been sold for EUR 5 million, with the transaction still outstanding.

Telekom Slovenije, which launched Planet TV in 2012 under the then Janez Janša government, has not confirmed or denied the report.

Speculation that Hungary's TV2 was eyeing Planet TV started in early June, when reports also mentioned Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Ćaleta as a second candidate.

It was reported that the telecoms incumbent had been looking for a strategic partner which would buy a 49% share in the TV production company already at the beginning of January, only to change its mind later on.

According to the newspaper Delo, Planet TV has cost Telekom Slovenije EUR 80 million in the form of capital injections, advertisements, loans and other services since it was launched in September 2012, and has operated in the red all the time.

The latest blow was the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce ordering Telekom last year to pay a EUR 23 million buyout to Antenna Group, the Greek partner who wanted out of the joint venture.

The telco, which thus became the sole owner of Planet TV, saw the buyout significantly reduce its profit last year, which reached a mere EUR 1.2 million.

After initially announcing the search for a strategic partner, Telekom Slovenije said in mid-March that selling the outright stake in Planet TV was also an option.

Planet TV was established by Telekom Slovenije at the time of Janša's 2012-13 government. Telekom also owns news web portal Siol.net, which got a new editor-in-chief after Janša became PM again in March.

Hungarian ownership is meanwhile presently involved in two Slovenian media outlets associated with Janša's Democrats (SDS) - the weekly paper Demokracija and the NovaTV web portal and TV channel.

Al our stories on Slovenia and Hungary

19 May 2020, 09:18 AM

STA, 18 May 2020 - Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto announced on Monday a gradual approach to lifting restrictions on the Slovenian-Hungarian border by 1 June after talks with Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. The Slovenian minister confirmed the goal was to reopen borders in early June, provided a suitable epidemiological picture.

Szijjarto wrote on Facebook that relaunching the economy meant resuming international cooperation which includes easing border restrictions. People's health should not be put into jeopardy though, he highlighted in a post reposted by the Hungarian Press Agency MTI.

The Hungarian foreign minister added that he and Počivalšek agreed that both Slovenia and Hungary had successfully contained the coronavirus epidemic.

Szijjarto pointed out that trade between the two countries exceeded EUR 2.5 billion per year with close-knitted communities on both sides of the border.

In a post on his Twitter profile, Minister Počivalšek said that he had suggested stepping up procedures to reopen borders in his talks with the relevant ministers from Hungary and Austria.

The Slovenian minister added that protocols should be put in place on how to cross the border and that everything should be done "not to jeopardise our health in the process".

Slovenian government coronavirus spokesman Jelko Kacin announced on Sunday that Počivalšek would be holding talks today with both Szijjarto and Austrian Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger.

In the wake of Sunday's government decision to take a more gradual approach to reopening Slovenia's borders to EU citizens, Kacin told the press today that the relevant strategy was focussed on preventing the cross-border spread of the virus.

A list of countries that will enjoy a restriction-free entry has not yet been delivered, however the government has said that it will be regularly updating the list taking into account epidemiological situations in individual countries, presented by the National Institute of Public Health, as well as agreements with member states and Schengen countries and EU-wide agreements.

There are no border restrictions for Slovenian citizens upon entering Slovenia though.

09 May 2020, 10:32 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 08 May 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Uprising is coming

STA, 8 May 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in Friday's editorial that there is mounting evidence a strong resistance movement against the current government is taking shape in Slovenia.

This is why Prime Minister Janez Janša is in a hurry - he would like to intervene in all structures of this country that he finds disturbing before the situation returns to normal, at least partly, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

He knows that although a majority of Slovenians are horrified by the moves of his government they are handicapped now and unable to respond the way a mature, democratic society would.

"What we are witnessing is not normal assumption of power, which includes staffing changes, but bullying of society and the state administration."

But those in power cannot deny that last Friday, despite fears about coronavirus, thousands of cyclists took to the streets of Slovenian towns. In Ljubljana alone police counted 3,500 of them.

A Facebook group expressing support to whistleblower Ivan Gale has 70,000 followers. "People who were passive not long ago have started showing active interest in the media, which is shown in the ratings of political shows and a rise in the visits of websites that the public perceives as independent.

"That a network of resistance is being formed in Slovenia can be felt at every step," Repovž says.

Cyclists merely presage what is yet to come. Trade unions too are on the verge of rebellion, including because the government has completely frozen social dialogue.

In serious European countries (and companies) the opposite is happening: whoever wants the economy to recover knows this is the time to make a pact with trade unions.

And when it becomes clear that some government measures that are to help companies will have no real effect, the business elite will also turn against the government.

"The situation is going to get very serious soon. Since we are at the beginning of a crisis, this is very bad. Now we would need a government that would know how to create a sense of stability and security," Repovž says under the headline Outlines of Rebellion.

Demokracija: RTV Slovenija & Soros

STA, 7 May 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija argues in its latest commentary that mainstream media criticism and protests against the government in Slovenia reflect a confrontation between conservative liberalism and the George Soros-sponsored liberal democracy, which is on its way out.

Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief, notes how conservative parties in the Visegrad Group countries, including Viktor Orban's Fidezs, have turned away from liberalism as championed by Soros through his sponsorship of NGOs that supported liberal democracy parties in Eastern Europe in the 1990s.

He says that as a result of their eschewing progressivism/cultural Marxism, the parties, including the ruling Democrats (SDS) in Slovenia, are being targeted by liberal democrats today because they are mostly against accepting migrants, LGBT agenda, feminism, gender theory and life deniers.

"The enforcement of mixing and creation of chaos without a clearly defined future had been met with revolt among the healthy core of Europe's indigenous population (...) by the time of the great migration wave of 2015.

"It appears Covid-19 will accelerate its demise as in isolation people are again searching for their roots, identifying themselves with national culture and their nation, are looking for the lost faith in God. Hence panic everywhere.

"A textbook example is RTV Slovenija, which is no longer hiding its political and ideological bias, and its journalists Mojca Pašek Šetinc, Jelena Aščić and Eugenija Carl are typical representatives of the 'new order', stirring fear of the alleged dictatorship of 'not-our' government they cannot influence any longer.

"The government is good as long as it is headed by people with 'right', their ideas. Once it is not, the 'civil' sphere, educated in the spirit of Soros's tradition, gets activated, relying on the leftist logic of scaremongering. Violent street protests follow that seek to topple a legitimate government."

However, in conclusion of the piece whose headline carries the same message Biščak says that liberal democracy has already been put on a ventilator, "the one that has recently been making the far-fetched story of the media mainstream".

All our posts in this series are here

07 May 2020, 20:20 PM

STA, 7 May 2020 - President Borut Pahor and several parties have condemned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's posting a photo of a Greater Hungary map, with which he wished Hungarian secondary school students good luck in taking history exams.

Posted on Facebook on Wednesday, the photo shows a globe with Hungarian lands expanding into Slovenia and several other European countries, the territories which Hungary lost with the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WWI.

"It is understandable and right that the recurring postings of maps which could be understood as an expression of territorial claims are met with rejection and concern by the democratic public and politics, including me as the president of the republic," Pahor told the news portal 24ur.com when asked to comment on Orban's provocation.

He believes "it is because of such attempts that we should make an even greater effort to advocate ... respect and cooperation within nations and among nations".

The president also announced that he would draw this to the attention of his Hungarian counterpart Janos Ader's during an official visit planned for July.

The Foreign Ministry said that just like in the past, it would not comment on historical maps published abroad in different contexts, for instance for the purpose of research, education or exhibition, if they are not related to a clear intention or mention of revisionism.

The Ministry told the STA it "closely follows the contexts or the manners in which such historical maps are used and interpreted".

The office of the prime minister said where were historical maps in government offices, including an 1853 map of Slovenian lands that they say depicts "Greater Slovenia".

863px-Zemljovid_slovenske_dežele_in_pokrajin_(Original).jpg

Learn more about "Greater Slovenia" on Wikipedia

Social Democrat (SD) MP Matjaž Nemec, the chair of the foreign policy committee, voiced the expectation that Slovenian foreign policy will "react decisively...to show it is not a puppet of the Hungarian regime".

"When Orban, a friend of the ruling SDS, does not even conceal his plans any more. I expect a sharp response from all in government. Now is the time to show commitment to your country," he wrote on Twitter.

The coalition New Slovenia likewise said it expected "Slovenian diplomacy to react appropriately and warn the neighbouring Hungary that such 'history lessons' are unacceptable."

"Let's respect the borders we have today, and let's work to minimise their divisiveness in our shared European future," the party wrote on Twitter.

The opposition Left said in a press release that "such provocations which instigate nationalist feelings must be condemned".

"The Janez Janša government will not do so, because it counts on the help of the neighbouring regime. Its goal is clear: to institute an authoritarian conservative regime modelled on Orban's Hungary in our country."

This is not the first time that Orban posted a Greater Hungary map.

Last June, his office tweeted such a map to mark Hungarian Day of National Unity, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, with which Hungary lost over 70% of its territory. In December, he posted a photo on Facebook showing his Fidezs party in a meeting under the same map.

Orban's June 2019 incident was condemned by Pahor, the Foreign Ministry, then Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, and several parties, including New Slovenia (NSi), which is now in government, while Janša's Democrats (SDS) said they would not comment.

29 Feb 2020, 10:43 AM

STA, 28 February 2020 - The Slovenian web portal Oštro published on Friday along with two more investigative journalism groups in the region a report alleging that a Slovenia-based company was used to launder illegal Hungarian government money and finance media propaganda in North Macedonia.

The story - coming after reports showing entrepreneurs close to Hungarian PM Viktor Orban helped fund Slovenian media with ties to the Democrats (SDS) and Macedonian media associated with the country's VMRO-DPMNE party - is based on an investigation that had been started by Macedonian financial police in 2018.

The file of the Macedonian police, which allegedly acted after receiving a hint from Slovenian colleagues, is also said to contain documents obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and shared with its local centres in Slovenia (Oštro), North Macedonia (Investigative Reporting Lab Macedonia, IRL) and Hungary (Direkt36).

The centrepiece of the investigation is a EUR 2.94 million advertising campaign contract signed in 2017 by Hungarian entrepreneur Peter Shatz both on behalf the contracting party, his Slovenian publishing company R-POST-R, and the contractor, Macedonian company Target Media.

orban jansa slovenia hungary media politics.JPG

Screenshot ostro.si. You can see the story referred to here

Shatz, who has also been heavily engaged in dealings around Slovenian media associated with the SDS, used Target Media to buy the Macedonian Alfa TV and establish the Macedonian web portal ripostmk.com, both of which were publishing the ads stemming from the dubious EUR 2.94 million contract that ran from August 2017 to February 2019.

According to the findings of the Macedonian financial police, the marketing involved products by two small Hungarian companies - one of them purporting to sell olive oil from Croatia's Dalmatia region - that "do not exist on the Macedonian market" and whose import into Macedonia was not recorded before or after the ads were ran.

Moreover, indicating that the value of the contract was overblown, IRL quotes a Macedonian marketing expert as pointing out that the biggest client of a marketing agency in Skopje pays less than half a million euro annually for prime time ads at six TV and radio stations and web portals.

Macedonian police is said to suspect that the funds originated from illegal sources and that the aim had been to "legalise" them through Macedonian companies, meaning that money laundering is suspected.

The investigation is led by the director of the Macedonian financial police Arafat Muaremi, who suspects the money came from the Hungarian state budget.

Muaremi told IRL the police had informed the Macedonian prosecution of its findings in August 2019 but that no indictment had been filed. The prosecution said it was acquainted with the case but failed to explain why no action had been taken.

Muaremi added the investigation was started on the basis of a hint from Slovenian colleagues, who also "informed us that the money came from Hungary". According to Muaremi, Hungarian authorities have "not been willing to talk or cooperate with us in any way".

Slovenian police have not commented, but they did repeat that they had been conducting since March 2018 an investigation "of a suspected criminal offence whose perpetrator is prosecuted ex officio".

The Slovenian web portal necenzurirano.si has reported that this investigation pertains to the contentions EUR 450,000 loan taken out by the SDS in 2017 with Bosnian citizen Dijana Đuđić.

All our stories about Hungary and Slovenia are here

27 Feb 2020, 12:15 PM

STA, 26 February 2020 - Three local communities in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje are upset after a cable operator announced it was expanding its TV package in the area with programmes catering for the Hungarian minority, which does not in fact live in the three municipalities. The development comes amid concerns about Hungary's expanding influence in the region.

Telemach said it would include five Hungarian programmes in its package in Lendava, Odranci, Velika Polana and Črenšovci, in response to the wishes of the Hungarian community in the area. The latter three communities are not bothered by the new programmes, but rather by the reason given for the move.

Jožef Horvat, the head of the parliamentary faction of the conservative party New Slovenia (NSi), has alerted the government in a letter that Hungary's influence in the municipalities with exclusively Slovenian population is expanding through the programmes.

"We are not bothered by the programme scheme and business decisions of a private subject even when it comes to bilingual programmes, but it does bother us that in its official release the company stated that this was in accordance with the wishes of our municipalities' residents and labelled them as bilingual, which they aren't," Velika Polana Mayor Damijan Jaklin said.

In his letter, MP Horvat said that it was commendable that the Pomurje Hungarian community was aspiring for Hungarian programmes, but that it was unacceptable that in public explanations Črenšovci, Velika Polana and Odranci were listed as mixed ethnicity areas populated by a sizeable Hungarian minority. "This is simply not true and it is common deceit."

Horvat, whose party has just agreed to be part of a new government formed by Janez Janša, the leader of the Democrats (SDS), accused the outgoing government of silently watching developments in Prekmurje, asking what it was planning to do to protect the majority nation and language in the region.

Črenšovci Mayor Vera Markoja says that Telemach has apologised to the community for declaring it is home to a Hungarian minority. The company told the STA its purpose was not to cause discord or "declare ethnically mixed areas", but rather to offer a choice of quality content to all viewers across the country.

Telemach said that as part of its switch to the digital programme scheme new Hungarian programmes would be available throughout the country. The company has one TV signal for Lendava, Odranci, Velika Polana and Črenšovci, which means separating the programme scheme by municipalities impossible.

Prekmurje has in recent time seen extensive Hungarian state and private investment, which has sparked considerable attention. While some see the investment as welcome aid benefiting the entire population of the underdeveloped region, others see it as Hungary expanding its influence in a region what used to be part of the Hungarian empire.

Hungarian investments in the region include the acquisition of the spa Terme Lendava, unofficially at the cost of EUR 9 million, EUR 6 million investment in the Lendava football academy as well grants distributed to individuals and entrepreneurs commanding Hungarian language.

Opinions on the Hungarian aid are also divided within the Hungarian ethnic community in the region with some arguing that the investments do not generate economic effects and questioning the motives behind them, suggesting that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was trying to assert his ways also in Slovenia.

Hungarian MP Ferenc Horvath believes that the aid is welcome. "Slovenia too should give as much here. Aid is welcome in the region. These are public funds, we know where they are destined, and they are also a contribution to Slovenia because money is spent here and taxes are paid here as well."

A similar view was taken by the SDS, which is facing allegations that media with ties to the party have received funds from Hungary.

The SDS believes that the Slovenian government is neglecting Prekmurje as well as the Slovenian minority in Hungary, "which is why the Hungarians help both". "If our investment was sufficient, the Hungarians would have nowhere to invest".

All our stories on Hungary are here

20 Feb 2020, 09:36 AM

STA, 19 February 2020 - Tensions are running high as the police and the Democrats (SDS) clashed over the jurisdiction of the parliamentary Commission for Intelligence and Security Services Oversight (KNOVS), which wanted to investigate on Tuesday allegations that police had been spying on coalition party heads on behalf of outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.

Three KNOVS members made an unannounced visit to the police headquarters yesterday, investigating the suspicion that Šarec and his state secretary Damir Črnčec abused the police to gain information to extort party leaders in coalition-building talks with the SDS.

Šarec and Črnčec - the latter ran both national intelligence agencies under Janša's rule - both denied the allegations, with Šarec saying that the media "close to the SDS...are obviously describing their own methods".

He believes the SDS, whose MP Žan Mahnič led Tuesday's visit by KNOVS, is abusing the commission for political purposes.

"Independent institutions are investigating Hungarian funds which are flowing we all know where and attention has to be diverted," he said in reference to alleged by-bass funding of the SDS or the media associated with the party through circles close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Črnčec denied the allegation through his lawyer, and posted a lengthy post on Facebook this morning, criticising Janša. He also wondered why and for how much Janša had "sold Slovenia's national interests to Hungary".

He said in a post that Janša's and him parted ways parted when he had realised that "the SDS apparatus operates on the principles of a mafia business, where all paths lead to its leader and his inner circle".

Meanwhile, the police force also issued a determined response, underlining it is not "a dislocated unit of any politician or of any political organisation."

Police Commissioner Tatjana Bobnar said in a statement that the three members of KNOVS had tried to gain access to information that were beyond the scope of their legal powers.

The police said they wanted the names of police officers who potentially accessed records of certain MPs and information about ongoing investigations, including in cases without covert methods, the latter being in the domain of KNOVS.

Bobnar said the police would not give in to pressure from anybody and called for an election campaign built on arguments and not made-up stories at the expense of the police force and threats to its leadership. She vowed that the police would do everything in its power to prevent the spread of fake news within the force.

She also noted KNOVS deputy chair Žan Mahnič warned her she might want to think about her future because she would face criminal charges if the commission finds out that she was covering up political abuse of the police force. The statement interpreted as a threat was witnessed by Bobnar's deputy, as well as the boss of the criminal police departments.

Mahnič later tried to downplay this, announcing that a different parliamentary commission that is already looking into alleged politically-motivated prosecution would look into the spying allegations and demand the material that was denied to KNOVS.

The commission demands that the police provide within 10 days a list of all interventions into police records for any of the 90 MPs, all the cabinet ministers and the outgoing prime minister.

The General Police Administration said that the police had started checking the allegations and that the state prosecution would be kept informed.

Most parliamentary parties have expressed concern over the allegations. They believe that the matter should be investigated and all suspicions clarified.

According to reports by news portal Požareport, the alleged mission by Črnčec and Šarec targeted friends of Zdravko Počivalšek, the outgoing minister of economy and the head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and MPs of the SMC, as well as MPs of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB).

Meanwhile, the Left's MP Miha Kordiš labelled the developments as usual political scandaling, and took aim at the SDS.

The party and Janša have abused state institutions many times, he said, adding that Črnčec also belonged to that school of thought. It would not be surprising if the prime minister "has developed this bad habit too", he said.

18 Feb 2020, 14:43 PM

STA, 18 February 2020 - The Culture Ministry joined on Tuesday the condemnation of different forms of attacks on journalists reporting about alleged funding from circles around Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of media with ties to the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

Echoing last week's reaction by the Journalists' Association (DNS), the ministry wrote that the recent outburst of public stigmatisation and even street assaults on journalists is a worrying indication that pressure is escalating.

Undermining the independence of media and attacks on journalists present a serious challenge for democracy, as nobody can perform their work at the highest possible level if they are not safe.

"Violence, harassment and bullying targeting journalists and often also their families does not only cause fear among them but also mistrust and uncertainty in society at large," the ministry wrote, noting undermined freedom of speech leads to poorly informed voters.

It pointed out that reports on the safety of journalists have been included by the European Commission in the regular monitoring of the state of the rule of law in member states, with rising pressure on journalists also appearing in countries with long democratic traditions.

Verbal attacks and bullying, especially when coming from public figures, are often only one step away from physical forms of violence, the ministry said, pointing to reports of international organisations about this becoming a trend in many countries especially before elections.

The ministry said it would continue to push for comprehensive efforts to secure a safe environment for journalists, including with the currently shelved new media bill that entails greater autonomy and social security for journalist and greater transparency of the operations and financing of media outlets.

All our stories on Hungary and the media are here

14 Feb 2020, 09:56 AM

STA, 13 February 2020 - The Democrats (SDS) have accused the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) of leaking classified information to journalists about Hungarian financing of media outlets with close ties to the party, accusations that the LMŠ denies.

The head of the SDS deputy group, Danijel Krivec, yesterday sent a letter to Jani Möderndorfer, the chair of a parliamentary inquiry into the financing of political parties, implying that the vice chair of the inquiry and LMŠ MP Aljaž Kovačič, and another LMŠ member, were looking at documents on money transfers from private Hungarian companies in the safe room of the National Assembly on 31 January and 3 February.

Related: NBI Examines Hungarian Funding of SDS-Friendly Media

The documents in question had been obtained during the parliamentary inquiry and were labelled as classified.

Later that week, media reported of the allegedly controversial financing of the SDS from Hungary, publishing data on transactions, which Krivec thinks "could not have been obtained legally", as NKBM rejected media requests for an insight into the transactions.

Krivec therefore proposes that the chair of the parliamentary inquiry into alleged money laundering at NKBM, Jani Möderndorfer of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) reports Kovačič and other unknown perpetrators to police.

Krivec also proposed to parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan that the issue be discussed by deputy group leaders.

The LMŠ rejects the accusations, saying that its MP and vice chair of the inquiry, Kovačič, has the right and duty to go through the documents that are relevant for the inquiry.

"After all it is his task and duty as member of the inquiry to get acquainted with the content before it is put up for debate or a vote," said LMŠ deputy group head Brane Golubović.

He added that Kovačič and his college had acted in line with the rules, recording the date and the documents they had inspected. Meanwhile, Möderndorfer labelled the demand inappropriate and a pressure on the parliamentary commission.

Kovačič rejected the allegations that he had leaked the confidential information to the press, while SDS head Janez Janša said that only two people had looked into the data on transactions of private companies and that they were both from the ranks of the LMŠ.

Kovačič, on the other hand, said that he and his colleague had definitely not been the only ones looking into the documents. "I'm probably one of the few people who always sign their names when they look into documents. If I wanted to play James Bond I probably would not have been doing that."

Web portal Necenzurirano.si reported of transactions of funds originating from Hungary from accounts in the UK and Hungary to Slovenia on Monday. It said EUR 4 million had been wired, of which EUR 1.5 million landed on the bank accounts of two media companies that are behind the TV channel and web site of Nova24TV, both of which are co-owned by senior SDS officials.

The remaining EUR 2.5 million was reportedly wired to North Macedonia to finance the purchases of media companies with ties to the biggest opposition party, the centre-right VMRO-DPMNE.

The National Bureau of Investigation has confirmed it is investigating the funding of some media outlets close to the SDS.

The SDS has denied the accusations on several occasions, and has even threatened the outgoing PM, Marjan Šarec, with a lawsuit over the statements he made on public TV regarding the financing of the SDS from Hungary.

Möderndorfer confirmed for the STA on Wednesday that he had received the letter from the SDS, which he labelled "highly unusual". "I admit I am surprised this came from someone who has no access to the documents of the parliamentary commission and is neither its member nor substitute member," he said.

All our stories about Hungary and Slovenia are here

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