“Given the international or, namely, Swiss situation, which does not compare to Slovenia’s, the amounts are completely normal,” Tomaž Vesel said when asked about his additional earnings. He also reminded everyone of the high salaries of the Slovenian representatives in the European Institutions. He finds a quarter of a million dollars per year, paid to him by FIFA, to be a completely normal amount, even though his is a non-professional function that he performs in his free time, as he is also the President of the Court of Audit.
In 2016, the President of the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia, Tomaž Vesel, was appointed the President of the independent Audit and Compliance Committee by the largest sports organisation in the world, the International Football Association (FIFA). This is a non-professional position, so Vesel continues to be the President of the Court of Audit as well. Recently, reports of his staggeringly high earnings have come to light, but he rejected the allegations, as he believes that the earnings are normal in the international context. Last year, he received a quarter of a million dollars for his position in the International Football Association.
FIFA’s annual report for the year 2019 shows that Vesel received 246 thousand euros in gross revenue for his audit work. FIFA has not published similar data for the previous years, but Vesel explained that the amounts were similar. FIFA is a non-profit sports organisation that does not perform a gainful activity, and therefore, the performance of both of his functions at the same time is not legally disputable, Vesel explained, according to Siol.net web portal.
The Siol.net web portal also reported on Vesel’s explanation that before taking up his position in FIFA, he informed the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (Komisija za preprečevanje korupcije – KPK) of his intentions and asked for their opinion. “In a written response, they informed me that they do not see this as a conflict of interests and that the two functions are compatible,” Vesel said, adding that he had settled all tax liabilities and contributions for the pension, disability and health insurance – both in Switzerland and Slovenia. As all of the expenses for the business trips are also included in the wage, he is left with less than half of the gross amount in the end, he added.
“FIFA’s wages are set according to the career achievements of its people and the international working conditions,” Vesel pointed out, adding that he found it interesting that he was only being asked about it now, despite the fact that he has been in office for more than four years. It might be interesting, but it is not really that unusual – considering everything that has come to light lately. It is obvious that in recent years, no one cared about who is spending the money, and even less so who is paying for everything, especially if it was at the expense of the state. Regarding his astronomical earnings, Vesel received a lot of criticism, in the sense of: “I do not understand how it is possible that the law stipulates that, for example, some people can only work for an extra 8 hours per week, in addition to the 40 regular hours, while others, like Vesel, for example, are allowed to additionally work part-time for 200 thousand euros per year. For that amount of money, something needs to be done. When does Tomaž get any rest? Are decisions like today’s due to fatigue?” The Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, also responded to the matter critically and wrote the following: “No corruption here. They are first-class citizens, and so they are capable of earning an additional 20 thousand euros a month with their work in the afternoon.”
The Court of Audit is currently finalising its draft report on the purchasing of protective equipment. According to Matej Avbelj and Janez Šušteršič, part of politics and the media are eagerly awaiting the report, as they reckon that it will serve their political agenda of replacing the current government. “It is no secret that the President of the Court of Audit and the deputy who was initially authorised to review and co-sing the draft, have different political beliefs and preferences. That is why having both of them sign the draft would greatly increase its credibility and take some wind from the sails of all those who would want to call the report politically motivated and biased,” Avbelj and Šušteršič called in their public letter, which has been published on the Siol web portal. With this, some wind would be taken from the sails of the part of politics and the media who are eagerly waiting for the current government to be replaced.