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When Tomaž Vesel worked on construction sites in Germany as a student, his uncle was stealing construction machines

President of the Slovenian Court of Audit and FIFA President of the independent Audit and Compliance Committee Tomaž Vesel. (Photomontage: Matic Štojs Lomovšek)

Years ago, the newspaper Dnevnik revealed that the President of the Court of Audit, Tomaž Vesel, had been convicted of fraud in Germany, and then expelled from the country. Vesel denied the allegations, but then we found some evidence showing that his uncle, Anton Urbas, was convicted of theft of construction machinery in Germany in the late 1980s. In addition, at least two other people were convicted. With all this, Vesel’s work on construction sites can be seen in a whole new light. We also send some questions regarding this matter to Vesel. In the answer he had sent us, he denies that he was ever involved in any of the proceedings we wrote about in a previous article. You can read Vesel’s answer in its entirety at the end of the article.

Tomaž Vesel was born on the 30th of July 1967. Today, he is 53 years old. In the late 1980s, as a student, Vesel went to Germany to earn some extra money for his studies. But, as those familiar with the events that happened at the time revealed to us, making money was not the only reason he went to Germany, it was also to gather information on the heavy machinery from the construction sites, as well as the work schedule and the security level at the construction sites. As we have learned, that summer Vesel works in the Bavarian area and around the Bavarian capital.

Our source has told us that, based on the information that Vesel had gathered, the machinery from the construction sites with poor security was taken away and stolen at night or on the weekends. The stolen excavators, rollers and trucks were then brought to Slovenia, and then most of these machines were sold to the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The German police soon found out about this.

Tomaž Vesel’s uncle, Anton Urbas, has already been convicted in Slovenia and Germany, as the leader of a criminal group for reselling tractors
Tomaž Vesel’s uncle is Anton Urbas. He was born on the 20th of July in 1957. According to official data, Urbas now lives in Šentvid near Stična. He is the brother of Tomaž Vesel’s mother. Vesel himself is said to have lived not far from the home of his uncle Urbas. The other member of the criminal group was Martin Golobič. Both Urbas and Golobič were well-known criminals with an extensive criminal record and were also old acquaintances of the Slovenian law enforcement authorities in the past. At the time, the German police were quick to identify who the main players were in the theft of the heavy machinery. In addition to Urbas, Golobič and Vesel, the story involved the then-truck driver T. P., who was also convicted of crimes in Germany – but it is more likely that he was the collateral damage of Urbas’s vile plans. Like Vesel, he was also from Šentvid near Stična.

As we have managed to find out, Golobič and Vesel managed to escape from Germany before the arrest was made, while Urbas and the driver were allegedly caught in Germany. Golobič was then arrested by the Austrian border authorities at the Ljubelj border crossing, as a warrant was issued for him, and then he was handed over to the German authorities. Tomaž Vesel was allegedly sentenced in absentia to deportation or a ban on entering the country of Germany for several years. Urbas and Golobič were said to have served their prison sentences in a penitentiary south of Munich. Both supposedly spent four or five years in prison.

The printed media tycoon Martin Odlazek was furious when stolen heavy machinery was discovered in his halls
Urbas and Golobič reappeared in Slovenia in 2000 or 2001. As can be seen from their criminal records, both were convicted multiple times in the past, for a large number of criminal offences. Thus, Anton Urbas was once again convicted of theft. This time, due to a large number of tractors stolen in Italy, which were then smuggled into Slovenia and sold to the farmers in the Dolenjska region. According to our sources, the tractors were being sold very cheaply, as some farmers in the Dolenjska region even bought as many as two tractors. Unfortunately, after the criminal act of Urbas was revealed, they had to be returned, or the Slovenian law enforcement authorities confiscated them. Unfortunately, the money with which the farmers from Dolenjska paid Urbas for the tractors was never seen again.

Martin Odlazek, the print and garbage tycoon, was furious when the affair was revealed. Many of the stolen tractors were stored in Odlazek’s halls. When it comes to the theft of tractors, Odlazek had absolutely nothing to do with it. He was merely renting out the empty spaces and was very furious with the criminal gang, which unnecessarily tarnished his name.

In February of this year, we also asked Tomaž Vesel about his acquaintance – Mr. Odlazek. He replied that he knows Martin Odlazek from their life in the countryside in Šentvid near Stična. We were interested in whether the Court of Audit would start auditing Odlazek’s intricate business network. In the past, the infamous convicted Dolenjska entrepreneur did not even stop at the fraud of the disabled. We also asked Vesel how them knowing each other would affect his independent assessment of Odlazek’s controversial media network. “The mission of the Court of Audit is to monitor the path of public money, and the operations of private law entities outside this scope are not within its competence. The influence of these companies or individuals who run or have capital shares in them on the design of the work programme is not possible, as the choice of each audit is based on the work strategy of the Court of Audit or legal obligations,” the Court of Audit responded diplomatically.

Our sources have revealed some interesting information about the work of the Court of Audit, regarding the “afternoon work” for FIFA. Vesel’s core team and other colleagues at the Court of Audit are also said to be very dissatisfied with Vesel’s work. The position at FIFA made Vesel feel much more important than he is. Oftentimes, he is not at work at all, as he spends most of his time wandering around Switzerland. His employees spend most of their time looking for him, to get him to sign urgent documents, which causes them additional troubles. Tomaž Vesel will soon have to decide what is more important to him – his work obligations in Slovenia or the excellently paid work at the International Football Association – FIFA.

Construction baron Ivan Zidar threatened to reveal Vesel’s affair in Germany
Tomaž Vesel’s career is presented on the pages of the Court of Audit. It states that he is a graduate of the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. He began his career at the Government of the Republic of Slovenia: Centre for Informatics and continued as a member of the National Audit Commission. During the tenure of Igor Šoltes, Vesel worked as the Supreme State Auditor at the Court of Audit.

Our local sources surprised us with the incredible thesis that Tomaž Vesel was also personally acquainted with the fallen construction baron Ivan Zidar. One of the most influential businessmen in Slovenia knew Vesel’s weaknesses very well. In close company, Vesel always spoke with awe about Ivan Zidar. Vesel was, in fact, very afraid of the fallen construction baron of Slovenia, as he was supposed to say among his confidants, “that Zidar would build him into the foundation,” if the Court of Audit investigated him.

In the past, the Clean Shovel affair caused quite a stir in public. In the Clean Shovel case, Zidar, Hilda TovšakDušan ČrnigojTomaž ŽibertIvan DemšarBorut FarčnikSrečko Gabrič and Ivan Kroflič were accused of accepting and giving gifts or providing assistance in the crimes in connection with the construction of the airport tower in Brnik. All eight already denied their involvement in the crime at the investigation stage of the process.

Anton Urbas appeared as the key witness in the Clean Shovel affair, Anton Urbas was considered to be the main whistleblower by the mainstream media, as he supposedly revealed the affair between the related construction companies SCT, Vegrad, Primorje, and the state authorities. However, the Slovenian police never confirmed that Urbas was working undercover for the police in the Clean Shovel case. But Urbas himself claimed to have been a German secret collaborator as well. That is how most understood the statement of the German criminal investigator Gerhard Schaffner, who said that Urbas had told him about SCT and Zidar, but that he himself returned to Germany the next day and informed his Slovenian official colleague, Robert Slodej, of everything that Urbas had told him. Urbas was once again imprisoned in Germany during the affair, for crimes of concealment and forgery of documents, as he allegedly resold stolen tractors and construction machines in Italy, Slovenske novice reported. He was allegedly promised by the Slovenian side that his file would be wiped clean and he would be released from prison if he helped them, but this did not happen.

The Čeferin Law Firm was part of Zidar’s legal team in the Clean Shovel affair. Thus, at the trial in Trebnje in 2015, Urbas was asked whether the Clean Shovel affair was completely fabricated by the criminal investigator Robert Slodej, who sent him to Germany undercover, to Schaffner, to falsely charge the SCT director, which is how the Slovenian criminal investigators began an investigation. Urbas nodded at all these allegations of the defence, they wrote in Novice.

Our local sources from Šentvid near Stična told us similar stories about Urbas. Despite being presented as the prosecution’s crown witness, he allegedly said at the trial, that the criminals had tricked them into obtaining information from their German colleagues. This supposedly provided the basis for the implementation of special measures against Mr. Ivan Zidar personally. They also do not rule out the possibility that some of the important information regarding the investigation of the Clean Shovel affair, was revealed to Ivan Zidar by Mr. Vesel himself. Our sources from Dolenjska also reminded us of an interesting fact – after returning from prison, Martin Golobič opened a company that was engaged in the activity of controlling the movement of vehicles (tracking the transport of trucks, buses, etc.). Shortly after founding his company, he signed a lucrative contract with none other than the construction company SCT.

Dnevnik journalist Blaž Petkovič revealed Vesel’s Adventure in Germany, but further research on him was then stopped
However, the story of Vesel’s possible indecencies in Germany is not a new story. In 2013, it was first mentioned in part by the Dnevnik journalist Blaž Petkovič, but at that time, Vesel rejected all allegations. “None of this is true. It is true, however, that 20 years ago, as a student, I worked on construction sites in Germany for a few months. Bin order to cover the cost of my studies. It is not clear to me why this happens every time I run for a new position or when an important report is issued. A similar thing happened in 2003 when I became a member of the court,” Vesel told Dnevnik on his candidacy for President of the Court of Audit in 2013.

The whistleblowers mentioned to us that after the publication of Petkovič’s article in Dnevnik, they sent them all the facts about what went down in Germany, but it seems that either Petkovič or the Dnevnik editorial board decided not to investigate the matter any further. Given that the crimes, according to the testimony of our sources, took place in the southern part of Bavaria and around the city of Munich, we also sent the question to the Bavarian Archives, which stores all the judgments of the courts in Bavaria. We will receive their response after the 4th of January when the Christmas and New Year holidays end in Germany.

We also sent some questions to the President of the Court of Audit, Tomaž Vesel, via e-mail and to his mobile phone. Among other things, we asked him if he might have been in prison during the proceedings, or even as a suspect. You can read Vesel’s answer in its entirety below.

The answer of the President of the Court of Audit, Tomaž Vesel:
I would like to inform you that I have never been involved in any of the proceedings mentioned in your article today. I categorically deny participating in any proceedings, in any role. This is simply not true, and the crimes of the people you mention in your chaotic article were committed at least a decade after the short period in which I was working as a student in Germany. I do not even know some of the people you have mentioned. I wish you all a very nice day and beautiful and very peaceful holidays.

Luka Perš