17 February 2021

Four orthopedic surgeons and a salesperson were sentenced to jail terms ranging from ten months to three years on Wednesday in what is the largest healthcare corruption trial in Slovenia. District court also imposed fines and forfeiture of assets.

Of the four orthopedic surgeons, Robert Janez Cirman will go to prison for three years, Rok Vengust for two years and two months, Vane Antolič for a year and six months and Samo Karl Fokter for ten months. Antolič was also fined EUR 8,100, Cirman EUR 20,000, Fokter EUR 6,000 and Vengust EUR 15,000,

A former salesperson for medical supplier Emporio Medical, Darko Žafran, was sentenced to a year and six months in prison for giving the bribes. Žafran was fined EUR 10,000 .

Both the defence and the prosecution have announced that they will appeal.

The corruption came to light in December 2013, when police searched 60 residences around Slovenia and found large amounts of cash and even gold bars. Emporio Medical was at the centre of the scandal. It was suspected of bribing the doctors in exchange for continuing ordering medical supplies made by a particular producer.

Emporio Medical’s former director and co-owner, Urška Jurkovič, was the key witness for the prosecution.

Judge Dejana Fekonja in her concluding remarks said that the doctors had received the kickbacks in various ways: as a payment of subscription fees for medical journals, a payment of registration fee for conferences, a payment of Christmas parties, deposits on bank accounts or in cash. Žafran who received the money in his bank account, distributed it to the doctors.

The judge split the trials into several smaller ones due to many defendants. Wednesday’s verdict brings only the first trial to an end.
Total Slovenia News reported.