At the beginning of July 2015, the new Act on the Method of Execution of the European Court of Human Rights judgement in case no. 60642/08 took effect. This was the judgment in the case of Ališić, by which the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), inter alia, ordered Slovenia to take all the necessary measures for repayment of the old foreign-currency deposits to the savers of Ljubljanska Banka branch offices in other former Yugoslav republics, under the same conditions as applied for the holders of deposits in domestic branches of Slovenian banks.
The Act regulates the scope of beneficiaries, the method for determining the amount of the repayment, the procedure of verification and the method and due date of repayment. Based on final decisions granted to the beneficiaries in the process of verification, the Republic of Slovenia will take over the fulfilment of obligations of Ljubljanska Banka arising from failure to repay old foreign currency deposits and interest.
On 30 October 2015 the Ministry of Finance announced in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 81/2015, the Public call for filing the claims for verification of unpaid old foreign-currency deposits.
In addition to the natural persons, civil legal persons are beneficiaries under the Act as well. A natural person who contractually acquired the claim for repayment of old foreign currency deposit from the beneficiary is entitled to file the request for verification only if certain conditions are met.
The amount of repayment
The amount of repayment will be determined on the basis of individual’s outstanding claim against Sarajevo and/or Zagreb branch of Ljubljanska Banka arising from the foreign currency deposits on 31 December 1991, including the contractual interest, accrued until that date.
From the outstanding claim on 31 December 1991, potential repayments and/or recovered amounts on any basis after that date and any due obligations of the saver towards the bank will be subtracted. Interest shall be calculated for the period from 1 January 1992 until 31 December 1992 at an annual rate of 6%, for the period from 1 January 1993 until 31 December 2015 at an annual interest rate of 1.79% and for the period from 1 January 2016 until the repayment at the rate of household overnight deposits.
Succession Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (“the Fund”) will have the authority to decide upon the repayments in a specific process of verification.
Existence of the claim arising from the old foreign currency deposits may be proved with an original or a copy of the foreign currency savings book or a contract of deposit or other document demonstrating the existence and amount of the claim. Demonstrating the facts by witnesses is explicitly prohibited.
When filing the request for verification, the beneficiary will have to confirm in writing that the old foreign currency deposit was not transferred to another person, for example to another legal person in accordance with the regulations of the Republic of Croatia regulating the transfer and assumption of guarantees for old foreign currency deposits.
Filing of the requests for verification will be possible between 1 December 2015 and 31 December 2017. It should be noted that requests may not be filed in an electronic form. In case of the beneficiary being represented in the process of verification by an agent who is not an attorney-at-law, the power of attorney given to such agent must be certified. The beneficiary’s signature of the request must be certified as well, unless the request is filed by the beneficiary personally at the premises of the Fund. More specific rules on filing the claim for verification are outlined in the Rules on filing the claim for verification of an unpaid old foreign-currency deposit.
After the filing of requests for verification, the Fund will have three months to adopt a decision [note: Decisions on requests for verification in regard to Sarajevo branch of Ljubljanska Banka will be delayed until the data is received from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will be arranged in a special memorandum. The Fund is still able to rule on a decision of the beneficiary`s claim, which was awarded with enforceable court decision by the Court, competent for Slovenia]. A beneficiary does not pay any administrative fee to the Fund for the procedure of verification.
If the Fund determines that the request for verification is justified, it will issue to the beneficiary an informative statement of calculation of unpaid old foreign currency claim. It will be possible to object to the informative statement of calculation within a 30 day period [note: by failing to file an objection within that time period, the beneficiary is waiving the right to a potential later claim in the administrative dispute.] The Fund must respond to the objection with a decision within 2 months from its receipt. The beneficiary has the right to challenge the Fund`s decision in the administrative dispute.
The Fund will make a payment to all claimants on the 30th day of decision being made final, from the budget`s funds of the Republic of Slovenia. [note: if the funds are to be remitted to the transactional account of the agent, and even if the agent is an attorney-at-law, it is still necessary to attach to the request a special power of attorney for acceptance of payment with certified signature of the beneficiary.]
As a rule, a natural person will not pay income tax of interest accrued from 1 January 1992 on old foreign currency deposits. [note: if a beneficary is a legal person or a natural person, that obtained the claim from the original beneficiary on the basis of a legal transaction within the business activity, the tax deduction is not calculated, detracted or paid, however, obligation to pay income or corporate tax stays.]
Pending judicial proceedings
As at 4 July 2015, all judicial proceedings concerning repayment of old foreign currency deposits are stayed, if the decision on the claim for payment had not yet been adopted. The Act stipulates that a beneficiary who did not file objection against informative statement of calculation, can within 60 days from receipt of payment, withdraw the lawsuit without the consent of a counterparty and without a duty to repay the costs of the procedure.
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