Corporate news 17.4.2021 17:34

Police visited STA chief supervisor due to a number of reports

Ljubljana, 17 April - The police is leading an investigation to determine whether there are elements of suspected criminal acts prosecutable ex officio based on allegations of irregularities regarding the STA. Investigators visited the STA chief supervisor based on a number of reports of these allegations and not based on a government decree, the police has said.

Ljubljana
Mladen Terčelj, the head of the STA supervisory board.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Investigators with the Ljubljana Police Department have recently contacted Mladen Terčelj, the head of the supervisory board of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), based on a number of reports of alleged irregularities regarding the STA operations, the General Police Administration told the STA on Saturday, responding to the agency's queries.

The police said that the investigation had not been launched based on a government decree adopted in March in which the government tasked the Interior Ministry to examine whether the alleged violations contained elements of suspected criminal acts prosecutable ex officio and to act accordingly.

At the time, the government also proposed the supervisory board to dismiss STA director Bojan Veselinovič.

The police highlighted today that Terčelj was visited by Ljubljana Police Department investigators and not by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigators as had been reported earlier.

The police would not reveal any more detail because of ongoing procedure.

Terčelj confirmed for the STA on Friday he had been visited by investigators on Thursday. He said he had not yet discussed the matter with them, highlighting he had great confidence in the rule of law and thus the NBI.

The newspaper Dnevnik reported on Friday that the STA chief supervisor had been visited by NBI investigators the day before. The police told the paper that it was leading a pretrial procedure based on a reported criminal offence.

In March, the government also called on the labour inspectorate to review the STA operations. A few days later inspectors paid a visit to the agency.

Veselinovič told the government on Monday he was granting the government access to all books of account and documents, even though the STA had never received a formal request to that effect. He said the government should say, in writing, who would access the documents on its behalf and in what way.

He also noted that on Saturday 100 days had passed since the STA got paid for its public services in 2021.

The Government Communication Office (UKOM) said on Friday that the UKOM had recently received merely one new document from the STA, "an invoice for allegedly carried out public services in March", even though the STA director's step on Monday made it seem that he would send all the requested documentation. The UKOM also pointed to alleged irregularities in the STA operations.

Responding, Veselinovič dismissed the allegations, saying that the UKOM director had misused government communication channels to release misleading information. He said the STA was still waiting for a response by the government, the agency's sole shareholder, to learn who would access the documents on the government's behalf and in what way.