Shocking revelation: This is how Aleš Zalar and Mitja Gaspari ruined more than 60 thousand businesses and took homes away from Slovenians

Mitja Gaspari (Foto: STA)

One of the main reasons for the great removal of Slovenian companies in the last twenty years has also been the forcible or administrative removal of enterprises. In 1999, the state adopted the Financial Transactions of Enterprises Act due to the excessive financial indiscipline and insolvency of businesses, and on its basis it removed more than 17 thousand indebted companies from the commercial register practically overnight. The act even applied retroactively, which is contrary to the Slovenian constitution. The reason for most removals was the blocking of business accounts, but no one has bothered to find the reasons for this phenomenon. Slovenia returned to socialism overnight. Today, more than ten entrepreneurs are suing the Slovenian state over the forcible removal at the European court of human rights. Due to delays, there has not been any decision from Strasbourg yet, but if it is positive, the wronged parties predict actions seeking about a billion euros. The compensation will, of course, be paid by all Slovenian taxpayers.

The reasons for the indebtedness of companies can often be found in the inability of small entrepreneurs to recover their claims from larger business systems, e.g. SCT, Vegrad, Merkur, Primorje, and others. Many business founders only realised that they were debtors when they were visited by bailiffs. Due to financial difficulties, the state simply removed the indebted companies, and the creditors and bailiffs then turned directly to the founders, shareholders, or family members of the removed companies. After the removal of the companies, their founders were also prevented from enforcing their claims against their debtors.

People faced a genuine persecution. It was an ideological clash between state-owned companies and private property. Today, legal proceedings are being conducted against the owners of more than 19 thousand companies, and people’s property is being seized. Experts estimate that there are more than 50 thousand wronged parties in Slovenia. Before 1999, a company was only liable for debt with company assets unless debtors could prove misuse for purposes of profit. But the Financial Transactions of Enterprises Act turned the situation on its head overnight.

The main protagonist and proponent of this act was Aleš Zalar, the then president of the Slovenian Association of Judges, and the adoption in the parliament was imposed by then finance minister Mitja Gaspari. Loud warnings from the opposition that it was an attack on entrepreneurship fell on deaf ears. Andrej Vizjak from the Slovenian Democratic Party was most strongly opposed to the act, but the state had its own interests – to destroy small businesses that had become too competitive with strong state-owned companies that are under the control of politicians.

Luka Svetina