Corporate news 21.5.2021 12:14

Police visit Dnevnik to inquire about STA ads, daily says

Ljubljana, 21 May - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigators paid a visit to the media company Dnevnik on Thursday, the daily Dnevnik has reported. They made inquiries into Dnevnik's advertising, particularly in regard to an advert deal with the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

The investigators mainly inquired about Dnevnik's business deals with the STA - they wanted to know who is in charge of signing the deals and why deals with business partners are considered confidential or trade secrets, the daily said.

They quizzed Nives Roš, the head of advertising at Dnevnik, about the situation. Dnevnik editor-in-chief Miran Lesjak told the STA that the police had been initially interested in Dnevnik's advertising policy in general.

What followed were questions that focused on the company's business relationship with the STA - what were the circumstances that had led to this relationship, who was involved in writing the contract and why it is treated as confidential.

Lesjak said that Roš had explained to the investigators that all Dnevnik's advertising contracts were labelled confidential to protect trade secrets in the competitive media environment.

She also told the police everything she knew about the deal with the STA. Roš was not involved in writing the contract as the deal was signed years ago.

The police announced they would request access to relevant documentation, Lesjak said, noting that the deal with the STA was a common business practice. The police already have access to the contract, he highlighted.

Lesjak thus finds it hard to see the visit as anything but a way of exerting pressure on the media, in this case the STA and Dnevnik. The background of the story is clear - the police simply act according to instructions given by the government regarding the STA, he said.

Based on a report from the Government Communication Office, the government on 18 March tasked the Interior Ministry to examine whether the violations alleged therein contained elements of suspected criminal acts prosecutable ex officio and to act accordingly.

The ministry was also tasked to examine whether the STA supervisory board might have violated the companies act.

Moreover, the government proposed for the STA supervisory board to dismiss STA director Bojan Veselinovič, alleging violations in the fulfilment of the agency's legal obligations, which Veselinovič denies.

Ljubljana police investigators visited Mladen Terčelj, the chairman of the STA supervisory board, in mid-April in response to reports of alleged violations pertaining to the STA.

The government also called on the labour inspectorate in March to examine the agency and review its operations. Labour inspectors have found no infringements with respect to the employment relationships act or safety at work, including in response to the Covid-19 epidemic. They have issued a warning over a minor issue that has been tackled, the STA management said on Thursday.