In July 2014, the lobbyist Uroš Hakl and Sašo Todorović, a former candidate of the Civic List for deputy in Kamnik, bought the Večer newspaper for around €1 million through a company that only had a capital of €7,500 at the time of the purchase. Furthermore, as is apparent from documents in the Slovenian commercial register, they had borrowed €600,000 for the purchase of Večer from the family business Hakl & Hakl, which is owned by Uroš Hakl and his father Boris Hakl.
The loan agreement stipulated that Todorović and Hakl shall return the loan within 6 months, but this did not happen, and so the company became a co-owner of Večer. The most unusual fact in the matter is that Hakl was aided in financing the purchase of Večer by the Bank of Slovenia, which purchased the business premises of Večer in the centre of Ljubljana and thus enabled Hakl and Todorović to refinance their purchasing obligations by disposing of the fixed assets.
But what is crucial for understanding the story below is the obvious concession from the Slovenian left to the Hakl family with regards to the draining of Slovenian pharmacies – in the past few years they have collected millions of euro. Their key partners are mainly the pharmaceutical companies Lekarna Ljubljana and Pomurske lekarne, but let us start at the beginning.
Who is lobbyist Uroš Hakl?
Uroš Hakl is the nephew of the Prekmurje tycoon Stanko Polanič, who is considered to be the “puppet master” controlling Dejan Židan, and Hakl also employs Židan’s sister-in-law, Nataša Gider, the editor-in-chief at the Pomurski vestnik newspaper. Before entering politics, Židan headed Polanič’s company Panvita. The information that for many years Uroš Hakl was the executive director of the consultancy firm Pristop is also of importance – he was responsible for new contracts, and for a time he was also its co-owner. The businesses of Stanko Polanič and the Hakl family have been closely connected for years. In 2010, the most well-known Prekmurje tycoon, Polanič, transferred his share in Regal, which owns a whole network of companies under the name Panvita Group, from Intering Holding to Hakl & Hakl, which was already owned by Boris and Uroš Hakl. Polanič himself has publicly confirmed that he had already concluded a purchase option agreement at the time. Proof for the connection between the families Polanič and Hakl is the fact that Valerija Hakl Polanič used to be the president of the management board at the Panvita Group, which is the core of the Regal group, and that now Peter Polanič, son of Stanko Polanič, has taken over the position. A particularly interesting fact is that Hakl’s acquisition of Večer coincided with the period in which Dejan Židan took over as president of the Social Democrats.
Hakl family gets millions of euro from Ljubljana pharmacies without invitation to tender
Let us return to the pharmacy deals of the Hakl family. Already in 2011, the notorious alliance of Hakl & Polanič used the Hakl IT company from Murska Sobota to acquire a contract worth €960,000 for the maintenance of the application software at Lekarna Ljubljana, which was headed by Marko Jaklič. The Finance newspaper reported at the time that, according to information on the portal for public contracts, Lekarna Ljubljana had offered the 5-year maintenance contract without a public tender. What is interesting is that at the time the company of the Hakl family owned exclusive rights to the software used at Lekarna Ljubljana. Our sources at Lekarna Ljubljana have confirmed that the Hakl family only secured the contract on the basis of political connections with the Ljubljana mayor, Zoran Janković, since at the time all Ljubljana city companies, except for Lekarna Ljubljana, were switching to the SAP information system. Moreover, it is interesting that in 2009 a company from Polanič’s empire donated more than €300,000 to the municipality of Ljubljana. The data on the budgetary sources for the funding of the Hakl family and consequently their acquisition of Večer are telling as well.