SCANDAL SHAKES SLOVENIA: How did companies launder money through Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Yesterday, the National Bureau of Investigation of Slovenia conducted more than 50 house searches on suspicion of abuse of positions and money laundering. According to information N1, the investigations are related to Slovenian companies and the issuance of fictitious invoices for market research and procurement. That money then took a long time to withdraw from Slovenian ATMs with Bosnian bank cards.

Among the suspects is Milan Mandarić, the former owner of the Olimpija Football Club, and according to N1’s information, the company V3, led by Miroslav Vidaković, which in the past two years performed various construction works for individual budget users, is also under investigation. The well-known company Aktiva Čiščenje, which is run by one of the richest Slovenians, is also reportedly under investigation.

According to N1’s knowledge, inspectors in Slovenia are investigating several Slovenian companies to whom companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina allegedly issued invoices for fictitious market research and fictitious deliveries. After paying the fictitious accounts, this money was supposed to be returned to Slovenia in cash, also with the help of long-term withdrawals at Slovenian ATMs from Bosnian bank cards.

Too bad for a few companies

The General Administration of Police announced that the criminal acts they are investigating have caused damage to several companies throughout Slovenia. 36 persons are suspected of criminal acts, while currently investigative actions refer to as many as 42 natural persons and 36 legal persons.

Among the suspects is Milan Mandarić, the former owner of the Olimpija Football Club, who led several real estate construction projects in Slovenia. Mandarić was apparently not in Slovenia in the morning when the searches began, and as he told N1 in the afternoon, “he just returned from Belgrade.” He said that the police officers were not at his place today and he firmly denied that he participated in money laundering.

However, Olimpija Football Club confirmed that they were visited by NPU inspectors and “reviewed for the second time the operations of former president Mandarić and his team for the year 2019”.

Milanu Mandarić is a Serbian-American businessman who, after a long official career in England, where he managed Portsmouth, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday as president, took over Olipija Ljubljana in 2015.

Mandarić’s era lasted until October 2021, when the 84-year-old businessman handed over the club to Adam Delijus, in that period Olimpija won two national championship titles (15/16 and 17/18) and three cup titles (17/18, 18 ). /19 and 20/21). In addition to sporting successes, it was also a period when the “Dragon’s Nest” was rocked by all kinds of scandals, and the tails of the former green and white president’s dubious affairs are apparently still dragging today.

N1 previously wrote about the controversial services of tax consultants in Slovenia, most notably Roko Snežič, who offered Slovenian companies company registration in our country. The Financial Administration of Slovenia then pointed to the appearance of fictitious companies that exist only on paper and serve only for money laundering and tax evasion.

How was money laundered in BiH?

Furs wrote in his message concrete examples of “tax optimization” schemes, which represent illegal tax avoidance, both by companies and individuals.

As the first example, he cited a company that an individual establishes in BiH and has the means to provide services. The company actually provides services, but mostly in Slovenia. In practice, it behaves as if it were Slovenian, but the difference is that the income is transferred to the payment account of the company in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “For such cases, the legislation, taking into account specific objective circumstances, considers such a legal entity to be a resident of the Republic of Slovenia, which means that it has the same obligations as a Slovenian legal entity and is obliged to pay taxes in accordance with Slovenian legislation,” Furs was clear.

Another example is an individual who also establishes a company in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which represents a fictitious company. He cooperates with a Slovenian company and issues invoices for his services. The Slovenian company pays the bill and includes it in its costs. “However, since the services were not actually provided, the invoices are fictitious, and the Slovenian legal entity does not have the right to include these costs in tax-deductible costs and is ordered to pay the appropriate tax,” explained the financial administration.

In this case, Bosnia and Herzegovina was an ideal channel for tax evasion due to its favorable tax rates.


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