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The Gen-I Affair Is Behind The Subjugation Of The Police, RTV And The Constitutional Court

Ever since the government of Robert Golob took power, we have been witnessing a deliberate assault on virtually all subsystems of society. Under the guise of “depoliticisation” and the removal of the legacy of the Janša reformist government, the Ministry of the Interior, the Police, the Constitutional Court and the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS) have all been subject to intense political influence. And the thing that connects all these public institutions is that they would have to deal with the Prime Minister’s Balkan Gen-I affair.  

The recipe for silencing the infamous Balkan affair is simple, and can clearly be seen in the government’s modus operandi. Appointing the right personnel in the Interior Ministry and the Police can prevent the necessary investigations in the first place. Appointing the right staff at the national media outlet can prevent brave and rebellious journalists from reporting on what is going on.

The Prime Minister’s strange Balkan dealings became public even before the voters gave him his mandate on the 24th of April last year. A highly incriminating video from 2009 of Nihad Spahalić, who is the so-called Golob’s man, talking to Safet Oručević, has emerged in the media. The latter is a former MP and mayor of Mostar. In the video, the two men can be heard discussing the sharing of commissions and ownership stakes in the construction of hydroelectric power plants on the Neretva River. Golob was offered 15 percent, and readers can make up their own minds on whether he accepted the deal in the end, after reading more about the affair.

Just before the elections, another unusual “detail” was leaked. The future Prime Minister was said to have only found out about a bank account in Romania opened in his name at the Raiffeisen Bank from the Financial Administration. Golob reacted to the affair by saying that his identity had been stolen. It is almost impossible that someone could impersonate Robert Golob and open a bank account in his name. Establishing the identity of the customer is a fundamental task of any bank employee. The following detail was also very telling: the closure of the bank account opened in Robert Golob’s name coincided precisely with the closure of the Gen-I energy company’s branch in Romania. All this was just the prelude to Golob’s Balkan affair.

Dramaturgical peak!

What followed surprised even the most unconvinced doubting Thomas. In the following months, details of Gen-I’s activities began to emerge, of when it was still headed by the current Prime Minister. The affair involved Kosovo’s ambassador to Zagreb, Martin Berishaj, and allegations of campaign financing of Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, through the payment of commissions for brokering Gen-I deals.

The money for Berishaj’s services allegedly flowed from Gen-I in Slovenia, through Gen-I’s Serbian branch in Belgrade, into the bank accounts of MB Consulting, a company registered in Montenegro, where Berishaj is the sole owner and employee. Berishaj registered the company on the 12th of December 2016, and from the very beginning, surprising revenues started to appear in the bank account. Before the end of the year, the company reported revenues of around 100 thousand euros. In 2017, revenues were already at around one million euros. According to reports in Slovenian media, over half a million euros were of Slovenian origin at that time. To date, around 1.5 million euros is said to have flowed into Berishaj’s account, from Gen-I subsidiaries.

The media, especially those loyal to the transitional left (24ur, Siol, and Odlazek’s vast network of media companies), have not reported on the story, with the exception of the reactions of the Prime Minister and the Kosovo Ambassador, who have systematically denied all allegations of illegal dealings. The Prime Minister has also systematically discredited all the media that have reported on his affair. He continues to do so systematically to this day. The media silence was finally broken with an episode of the show Tarča (Target). After the broadcast, the former head of criminal investigators, Dušan Mohorko, spoke out, saying: “Until today, I was not sure whether there was crime behind the Gen-I money transfers, but now I know for sure, based on today’s episode of the show Tarča and Helbl’s statements.”

The march on institutions

Given the information available so far, it is not surprising that immediately after the takeover of power, Golob started his march on state institutions. He appointed Tatjana Bobnar as the Minister of the Interior and Boštjan Lindav as the Acting Director-General of the Police. Both of them distinguished themselves by criticising the previous, Janša government, and then, with the arrival of the Robert Golob government, they were rewarded for their work by being appointed to the highest possible positions. Darko Muženič was reinstated as Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, and David Antolovič as Director of the Criminal Police Directorate. Both are old acquaintances of our readers, instrumental in the fight against the forces of the political spring. However, the honeymoon period did not last long. Before the end of last year, an affair broke out in public, and the authors were none other than Bobnar and Lindav, who accused the Prime Minister of heavy political pressure on the Police, especially in the direction of staffing. They also described the pressures in detail.

Insinuations began to appear more and more often in the media and in politics that the real reason for Golob’s staffing tsunami was to prevent the deepening of investigations into his dealings in his previous job.

Power above the law

On the 14th of July last year, the National Assembly adopted an amendment to the Radio-Television Slovenia Act under the urgent procedure. The urgent procedure is reserved for adopting legislation in light of natural disasters and during times of war. The aim of the law was to usurp the public media outlet by illegally shortening the legally granted mandates of the management appointed during the Janša government, by changing the management bodies of the public media outlet. A referendum followed, in which the amendment to the law was adopted, followed by a petition for a review of the constitutionality of the law. The Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the implementation of the key parts of the amendment, but then later lifted the suspension after alleged heavy political pressure, opening the door to so-called “depoliticisation.” The word hides a renewed political politicisation, as confirmed by the Prime Minister himself in a public interview. The Constitutional Court has not yet ruled on the merits of the case. The law is clearly constitutionally controversial, and the Constitutional Court has already shown between the lines that it has decided that it cannot rule on the matter. The case will now go to the European Court of Human Rights.

And now, the national media outlet RTV is subjugated. Earlier this week, a decision was published in the Official Gazette on the constitution of new governing bodies of RTV within seven days. This will mean a personnel cut of the directors and editors. We assume that the Balkan Gen-I affair will soon disappear from RTV.

Gal Kovač

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