Yesterday Slovenian police arrested Igor Bavčar, formerly of Istrabenz and Boško Šrot, formerly of Laško Brewery. In a surprise move, both were taken into custody as were nineteen other individuals in what is most likely and orchestrated manoeuvre to hit as many birds with one stone as possible.
Igor Bavčar and Boško Šrot were arrested yesterday morning (source: RTVSLO)
Media speculation is centered around a 7.3 percent share of Istrabenz which had changed quite a few owners lately. Reportedly this is the best lead the investigators have if they are to prove that Bavčar and Šrot acted in concert when they tried to take over Istrabenz and Laško respectively, which – as you know – was the supposed “reward” (via under-the-table sale of Mercator) for helping Janez Janša to get a grip on Delo newspaper in 2005. Things, however, got badly out of hands, Boško Šrot ditched Janša who (as PM) declared war against tycoons and went specifically after Šrot, by ways of having a couple of construction barons arrested in Operation Clean Shovel.
However, Janša was removed from power in last years elections and it just so happened that the two “model tycoons” were arrested during the tenure of the government which Janša claimed is sponsored by those very tycoons, especially Boško Šrot (Janša always took it easy with Bavčar, to whom he is forever indebted for launching him into the mainstream political orbit in 1988). Admittedly most of the arrested were subsequently released (including Igor and Boško) once the crim police collected the evidence, but fact of the matter is that since the “game over” moment things went downhill for both of them.
Having said that, it must be noted that arrests came at an extremely convenient time: government of Borut Pahor is taking more and more flak for ramming through the deal with Croatian PM Jadranka Kosor and at the same time the government is having increasing difficulties in handling the crisis, with companies going bust or on strike (or both). It was only yesterday night than an agreement on whether to keep the pensions at their current level for the next couple of years or have them increased yearly in accordance with inflation. The agreement made passing the next years’s budget possible, but only after some serious wrangling between PM Pahor and president of coalition DeSUS (pensioners’ party) Karel Erjavec, where Pahor even threatened to demand a vote of confidence in the parliament. Ultimately the deal was reached, but apparently it left a sour taste in everybody’s mouth. Yesteday’s arrests will (at least) temporarily divert the public attention on other issues.
And while I’m on it. Just like I resented Janša photo-opping the moment of the arrest, I must say that I’m equally
appealed appalled by this practice continuing under the new government. I know they go for maximum public effect, but there are limits to this.