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Slovenia Slaps YLE Journalist with Slander Suit

The Slovenian state prosecutor has filed a defamation suit against Magnus Berglund, a journalist at YLE’s television programme MOT. The charges are linked to an aired MOT story about a suspected bribery case involving defence materiel manufacturer Patria and top Slovenian officials.

The Slovenian prosecution filed two defamation charges against Magnus Berglund at the beginning of June. The charges carry a possible prison sentence of up to six months or fines.

Berglund says he isn’t surprised by the charges. He, however, says he plans to avoid travelling to Slovenia anytime soon.

“They would probably arrest me as soon as I set foot in the country. Fortunately, Finland doesn’t plan to send me there for questioning,” Berglund says.

Berglund as well as MOT’s producer Matti Virtanen say they continue to stand by the work done on the report.

Defence Equipment Deal Sparked Controversy

Last autumn, MOT claimed that defence material manufacturer Patria bribed Slovenian officials, including then Prime Minister Janez Jansa, to the tune of 21 million euros in order to secure orders worth millions of euros. Jansa has denied any wrongdoing in the deal.

In 2006 Patria and Slovenia signed a deal for 135 transport vehicles that was valued around 280 million euros.

Finnish police have followed leads in the case to Slovenia as well as Austria.

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