Ex-Istrabenz boss Bavčar goes to prison
Ljubljana, 5 December - Igor Bavčar, the former chairman of Istrabenz, started serving his five-year sentence at the Dob prison in mid-September after being found guilty of money laundering. Bavčar, an independence-era interior minister who became one of the most powerful business executives before the recession, had been expected in prison since the Ljubljana Higher Court upheld in May guilty rulings against him and the Sušinski brothers. The rulings against them were upheld in a retrial over a 2007 chain sale of a 7.3% stake in the Istrabenz conglomerate. Bavčar had managed to avoid serving prison after the original ruling from 2013 by citing ill health, but then tried to use other avenues since new legislation made it more difficult to avoid prison due to health reasons. He had based his request for deferral of the prison sentence on the regulatory provision which allows postponement of a sentence to a convict who has to perform a job which he or she had started and where there is a risk of significant damage if the job is not performed. Courts rejected his arguments. Bavčar also needs to repay some EUR 21m in illegal proceeds that he made through the Istrabenz share deal. The Financial Administration filed a lawsuit against him, arguing that he owes between one and ten million euro in taxes.