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Golob’s Government Intends to Illegally Get Rid of Two Undisputed Experts from the Supervisory Board of the SSH, as Part of Its Personnel Purges

A few days ago, the government proposed to the National Assembly that it recalls two members of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) Supervisory Board, namely Boštjan Emeršič, MSc, and Dr Leon Cizelj, due to them allegedly not meeting the conditions for this position, and the National Assembly is expected to decide on this today. The government and the parliament’s decision on the alleged violation of laws by Emeršič, Cizelj and the previous National Assembly is entirely political, which is clear not only from the fact that Cizelj clearly meets all the conditions from the fourth indent of the first paragraph of Article 39 of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding Act, but also from the fact that Prime Minister Robert Golob is apparently not at all bothered by the fact that Karmen Dietner is the President of the said Supervisory Board, even though she is among the six people for whom the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption confirmed the breach of integrity.

Golob’s government has sent a proposal to the National Assembly to dismiss two members of the Supervisory Board of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding. According to the weekly magazine Demokracija (Democracy), they proposed the recall of two great experts with an international reputation: Božo Emeršič, MSc, and Dr Leon Cizelj, as it was allegedly found during an inspection that the two do not meet the conditions for supervisors. In the case of Emeršič, the inspection referred to the second paragraph of Article 39 of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding Act, and in the case of Cizelj, to the fourth indent of the first paragraph of Article 39 of the same act. Namely, the second paragraph states that “Members of the SSH Supervisory Board may not be in a business relationship with a company with a state capital investment or a company related to it. A business relationship is considered to be any legal transaction, except transactions in which a member of the SSH Supervisory Board is a customer of the usual products and services of the company in which SSH has or manages a capital investment under the general terms and conditions applicable to other market entities.” The fourth indent states that a member must have at least ten years of relevant work experience in running or managing companies and achieve good comparable results in his or her work.

The government of Robert Golob therefore states that Emeršič had met all the prescribed conditions when he was appointed a member of the SSH Supervisory Board but was later appointed director of the company 2TDK. And for Cizelj, Golob’s government states that at the time of his appointment, he did not meet the condition from the fourth indent of the first paragraph of Article 39 of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding Act – however, the government’s allegations of non-compliance with the conditions can easily be refuted by Cizelj’s official CV. Cizelj himself has also said that the claim that he does not have at least ten years of experience in running companies is, of course, not true. “Namely, I have been the director of the private company ISTECH d.o.o. since 2007. This is, of course, public information that is available to everyone in the court register, so I am surprised that the authorities in the government and perhaps also in the Slovenian Sovereign Holding failed to find and verify it,” he pointed out.

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption has confirmed violations of integrity in all cases, including Dietner’s – which clearly does not bother Golob’s government
On the other hand, it is interesting to see that the same government, which is proposing the dismissal of Emeršič and Cizelj, is not bothered by the fact that Karmen Dietner is the President of the Supervisory Board of SSH, even though the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption found or confirmed a breach of integrity in her case, in an investigation. “The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption informs the public that it has completed the procedure of investigating the suspicion of violation of integrity, which it conducted against six members of the Supervisory Board and Management Board of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding who were in these positions in 2019. It confirmed violations of integrity in all of these cases, but they are not yet final,” they wrote on their website. As part of the procedure initiated by the Commission in 2019, due to the detected suspicions of criminal offences, the case was then referred to the law enforcement authorities, which have already completed the procedure. During the procedure, the Commission addressed its recommendations to the SSH Supervisory Board and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, advising them to adopt the remuneration policy for the members of the SSH Supervisory Board, and addressed an initiative for the appropriate regulation of severance pay in companies with state capital investments to the competent ministries – the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, and the Ministry of Finance.

In his political dismissal, Cizelj was not given a chance to defend himself
It is a fact that the extensive personnel purges that the Golob coalition is already carrying out and still intends to carry out among the employees of the state administration, the police, the media, at the Slovenian Sovereign Holding, the Bank Assets Management Company, the National Institute of Public Health, and state-owned companies, are actually not allowed by the rule of law, and this is also clear from the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), reports the Siol web portal. “In the political dismissal we are witnessing, Cizelj was not given the option of defending himself,” the web portal wrote, adding that the government and parliament’s decision on Emeršič, Cizelj and the previous National Assembly’s alleged violation of the laws will be entirely politically. Siol further explains that it follows from the established case law of the European Court of Human Rights that officials and public office holders have the right to judicial protection, as the Court emphasised in its rulings against Poland and Hungary.
The Siol web portal talked about this with Dr Winfried Huck, a professor at the Faculty of European Law in Brunswick, Germany, and at Tongji University in Shanghai, and Dr Marco Antonio Simonelli of the University of Barcelona. Not only employees but also holders of other positions have the right to apply to the court in the event of an early dismissal, and the right for their term of office to continue until the final decision of the court. This applies to members of the Judicial Council, active military officers, judges, officials and secretaries of the police, parliament and embassies, and others, the Strasbourg court said. In 2007, the ECtHR developed a test to assess when a country can remove a holder early or terminate his or her term of office. “The court has ruled that the only ones who do not enjoy the rights from the Vilho Eskelinen trial are special civil servants, whose tasks are specific to the specific activities of the public service to protect the general interest of the state,” Huck told Siol, who, among others, also works with the Cambridge University.

“Karmen Dietner is a well-known name on the Slovenian financial and business scene,” journalist Luka Perš explained, who found many articles on the internet about Dietner’s connections with the business operatives of the influential decision-maker in the Slovenian economy, the President of Modra zavarovalnica insurance company, Borut Jamnik. We must also not forget that Jamnik and the current Prime Minister, Dr Robert Golob, used to work in the same building at Dunajska 119 in Ljubljana. In addition, the current Golob government is filled with Jamnik’s people. “Karmen Dietner is just another operative of Borut Jamnik. On the show Topic of the Day (“Tema dneva” in Slovenian), while talking about the Sava story, I inadvertently also showed a graph on which the viewers could see the intertwining of the most important political and economic actors in Slovenia. In my articles, I have described many times how in the background of Golob’s government, a so-called civil war between the coastal autocrats with the operative Borut Jamnik in the lead role and the Carinthian branch of the old intelligence structures from Janez Zemljarič’s business milieu is happening. It is important to note that DIetner, according to my information from reliable experts on the Slovenian business scene, was created by businessman Jože Anderlič but was later “kidnapped” by Jamnik, who took her under his wing,” Perš pointed out.

According to him, Dietner then slowly began to build her career in the (para)state-owned companies and businesses. Dietner is currently the President of the Management Board of the pension fund Pokojninska družba A d.d. This company belongs to the empire of the pension tycoon (according to the Reporter magazine), Alenka Žnidaršič Kranjc. Meanwhile, in addition to the regulators, Jamnik’s other key companies are also KAD, Gen-I, Krka and the Slovenian Sovereign Holding. SSH is a kind of “descendant” of the state-owned company Slovenian Compensation Company, where Dietner began her career. In addition to the aforementioned companies, the key cash flow for the operation of Jamnik’s network also comes from Sava Turizem, Jamnik’s company Modra zavarovalnica, the (para)state-owned funds of another insurance company, Zavarovalnica Triglav, Jamnik’s friend from childhood from the SavaRe company, Marko Jazbec, the venture capital funds (Elements Capital Management, Alfi, KF Finance, P&S Capital), and, of course, the pension companies’ funds, where Kranjc and her Pokojninska družba company rule. And most of the work for her is done by none other than Karmen Dietner. With this circle complete, the operative of the coastal autocrats, Jamnik, has an enormous influence on the everyday Slovenian economy. Dietner is only one of the people who is ensuring the destruction of her opponents with the money from the (para)state-owned companies and funds, which all Slovenian taxpayers have to finance. “Another wonderful story of the Slovenian transition,” the journalist of the web portal concluded.

Sara Bertoncelj

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