Saturday, 16 February 2019

Slovenia Files Motion against Croatia Regarding Ljubljanska Banka

ZAGREB, February 16, 2019 - Slovenia has filed an additional motion at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg to its application against Croatia from 2016, seeking damages due to alleged violations of the rights of the defunct Ljubljanska Banka Zagreb (LBZ) in an attempt to recover loans the bank issued during the former Yugoslav era to companies with their headquarters in Croatia.

In the motion, Slovenia requests, among other things, that an oral hearing be held in the case.

Last year the ECHR said that the case would be examined by its Grand Chamber, which means that if the court decides to consider the case, its ruling will be final.

With its application, Slovenia is trying to prove that due to the problem of blocked Yugoslav-era savings of Croatian citizens in LBZ, Croatian governments did not allow court proceedings whereby LBZ wanted to collect its receivables to end in the bank's favour, i.e. that the governments intervened in the judiciary.

A former justice minister in Slovenia, Goran Klemenčič, in 2016 stated that LBZ managed to retrieve only 700,000 euro through Croatian courts in cases LBZ had launched in 25 years since the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, because "Croatian executive authorities directly interfered in the judiciary and prevented enforcement."

At the same time, Croatia's judicial authorities "changed court practice and prevented LBZ from successfully collecting its legitimate receivables" from Croatian companies, he said.

Therefore, Slovenia is requesting the ECHR to rule in its favour for "at least 370 million euro in damages."

More news on the relations between Croatia and Slovenia can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Slovenia Protests Croatia’s Ruling in Ljubljanska Banka Case

ZAGREB, January 19, 2019 - Slovenia on Friday protested against a Croatian court's ruling in Zagrebačka Banka's and Privredna Banka Zagreb's suit against Ljubljanska Banka over transferred Croatian savings in Ljubljanska Banka's former Zagreb branch.

The Zagreb County Court recently dismissed an appeal lodged by Ljubljanska Banka and Nova Ljubljanska Banka, upholding a ruling against Ljubljanska Banka, which is a breach of international and European Union law, according to a protest note which the Slovenian government handed over to the Croatian Embassy in Ljubljana today.

In the note, Slovenia says it expects Croatia to refrain from all proceedings that are in contravention with the Mokrice memorandum on succession to the former Yugoslavia whereby, according to Slovenia, the two countries agreed to stop all legal proceedings against Ljubljanska Banka in Croatian courts, Slovenian news agency STA said.

Ljubljana says Slovenia complied with the Mokrice agreement because it enabled Croatia to join the European Union, yet the legal proceedings against the bank have not been stopped.

The two countries interpret the 2013 memorandum differently. Slovenia says it was agreed that Croatia would fully and unconditionally stop the legal proceedings.

Croatia says it was agreed to put the proceedings on hold and that Slovenia has breached the memorandum because, as the then owner of its biggest bank, it has not secured the bank management's consent to the terms of the adjournment until an alternative and mutually acceptable solution has been found.

Slovenia has reimbursed Ljubljanska Banka's Yugoslav-era clients in Croatia after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that they should be reimbursed under the same model clients in Slovenia were after Slovenia gained independence.

However, Slovenia insists it is not accountable for the payments to Ljubljanska Banka's Yugoslav-era clients in Croatia that came from Croatia's public funds through Zagrebačka Banka and Privredna Banka Zagreb. It says this matter should be resolved as part of negotiations on succession to the former Yugoslavia.

More news on the Ljubaljanska Banka case can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

ECHR to Rule on Slovenia's Complaint against Croatia

ZAGREB, December 19, 2018 - The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will rule on Slovenia's complaint against Croatia for unpaid receivables of former Ljubljanska Banka's Zagreb branch, Slovenian media said on Wednesday, citing a press release on the ECHR website.

In autumn 2016, Slovenia lodged an application with the ECHR against Croatia, alleging systematic and arbitrary interference by the Croatian government in proceedings which Ljubljanska Banka brought in Croatian courts, and demanding 360 million euro in damages.

The Court said in the press release the decision on the application was relinquished to the Grand Chamber, which means that it will be final, without possibility to appeal.

When Slovenia lodged the application on 15 September 2016, its then Prime Minister Miro Cerar said Slovenia had the legitimate right to demand from the ECHR a decision which would enable Ljubljanska Banka to collect its receivables from Croatian companies given that, under another ECHR decision, the bank was reimbursing its Yugoslav-era clients in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Cerar said that since 1991 Croatian authorities had prevented the bank from collecting those receivables and that they had interfered in the court proceedings brought by the bank.

Last spring, before the end of its term, the Cerar cabinet announced another similar suit against Croatia before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, but it has not been lodged yet.

The announcement was made after a number of decisions by Croatian courts in favour of Croatia's Privredna Banka Zagreb and Zagrebačka Banka in suits they brought against Ljubljanska Banka and its successor Nova Ljubljanska Banka over the repayment of their debts, which were transferred to the two Croatian banks and repaid from public funds.

In its dispute with Croatia over Ljubljanska Banka's transferred Yugoslav-era foreign currency savings, Slovenia claims it has no obligation to repay that money, that it is an issue of succession to the former Yugoslavia and that Croatia confirmed this with the Mokrice Memorandum, signed by the two countries' prime ministers ahead of Croatia's European Union accession.

Slovenia claims it was agreed on that occasion that the proceedings against Ljubljanska Banka in Croatia would be suspended and that a comprehensive solution would be sought regarding inherited debts and receivables, but that Croatia has not complied.

Croatia claims that when the memorandum was signed in 2013, it was agreed the proceedings would be suspended for a maximum two years, until a comprehensive solution was found. Given that no solution was found, the proceedings were resumed.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Slovenia can be found in our Politics section.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Ljubljanska Banka – One More Stumbling Block between Croatia and Slovenia

ZAGREB, February 23, 2018 - Slovenia's government is prepared to protect the New Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), the successor of the defunct Ljubljanska Banka, against possible distress orders if it loses cases being heard by the Croatian courts in reference to Yugoslav-era foreign currency savings kept by Croatian citizens, who were paid out through the Privredna Banka Zagreb and Zagrebačka Banka, Slovenia's media reported on Thursday.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Croatia Has Still Not Received Slovenia’s Lawsuit in Ljubljanska Banka Case

Slovenia has allegedly filed a lawsuit against Croatia at the European Court of Human Rights.