By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv.si
“The chairman of the board of Aktiva group is a financial genius and he did what he did, and I think it is right that we also start to realise that rich people exist in Slovenia and that, in fact, they must exist,” Nataša Pirc Musar said years ago in Tednik to the host Slavko Bobovnik what she really thought about PID tycoon Darko Horvat, who built an impenetrable network of around 120 companies and took about 300 million euros from our pockets. Almost half of these companies are based in various tax havens.
Candidate for the presidency, Nataša Pirc Musar, is not only distancing herself from the affairs of her husband Aleš Musar during her campaign, but also from the affairs of PID baron Darko Horvat. In one of the last interviews on RTVS, she said that she was employed at Aktiva for only a short time, as she did not last long there. It is not entirely clear why she did not last – she also said in Tednik that she definitely had the highest salary in Aktiva Group. “What Mr. Horvat was doing, we have absolutely nothing to do with it,” Pirc Musar now asserted in the confrontations – although the analysis of the business of the Musar spouses showed that this is not entirely true, which was also confirmed by the economist Dr Rado Pezdir. Even after the departure of the Musar spouses from Aktiva, cooperation with Darko Horvat’s network was still present. Pezdir remarked in the Beremo show that it is an interesting coincidence that ZIF Moneta in the domain of the Musar network had guarantees precisely with Faktor banka – perhaps precisely because the owner was a former business partner who is also on the supervisory board.
CG Invest in bankruptcy, or the former Aktiva Naložbe, from which Darko Horvat created his empire, according to the available data, took around one hundred million euros from the banks, Finance wrote in 2013. A year later, Primož Cirman and Matjaž Polanič wrote in Dnevnik that the baron of Pid began to restore a 37-million-euro villa in St. Moritz – the Horvats bought it in 2009, and the official owner was his mother. While Horvat was renovating his villa, the banks in Slovenia, to which the former Aktiva Naložbe (later CG Invest) owed around one hundred million euros, and the bankruptcy administrator were investigating his estate. We remind you that at the beginning of September 2014, Factor banka, which was controlled by Horvat for twelve years (between 1998 and 2010), and CG Invest was one of its largest owners, went into liquidation. The state approved 540 million euros in guarantees for the Bank of Slovenia for the liquidation of the bank – which was also reported by Finance. After CG Invest, from which 170 million euros were transferred to the accounts of Dutch companies connected to Horvat, forensics then investigated it – Horvat denied at the time that he was still connected to the company in any way.
The business scheme of Horvat’s Aktiva was always the same, regardless of the bank from which he borrowed money
His system was such that he borrowed money from a Slovenian bank and then passed it on to a company in the chain. The essential thing was that such a flow of money quickly reached a tax haven, where the entire transaction was effectively covered, and from there it ran through dozens of companies that Horvat and his colleagues generated on a daily basis. He also directed money to dozens of friendly connections, where they even exchanged names and surnames, thus erasing their tracks. In this way, he completely covered his tracks. In the meantime, Aktiva also played with credit transfers, virtual transactions, and insurance within the network. Over time, practically everyone lost track of the money they lent to Horvat, but they lived in the illusion that at least the credit insurance was adequate. Horvat, with his Pid empire Aktiva, appeared even more actively in the second generation of Factor banka’s owners, upon its liquidation in 2013. The network that established Factor banka and the network surrounding Aktiva were identical. At the time of the liquidation of Factor banka in 2013, there were several owners, among them the Aktiva Naložbe group, later renamed CG Invest. The Aktiva Naložbe group was controlled by Darko Horvat, who was also a member of Factor banka’s management board and a member of the supervisory board. The story of how transition tycoon Horvat built his octopus on a parallel mechanism is available here.
In 2007, Manager magazine estimated Horvat’s assets at 190 million euros
According to Cirman in Dnevnik, nothing symbolises Slovenian PID privatisation more than the public appeal of the small Aktiva Invest shareholder Marko Zupančič from March 2006: “In Aktiva Invest, the small shareholders of the former PID invested 300 million euros with certificates. Where is our money now? I want Darko Horvat to answer this question!” Horvat never answered, even though a good decade before that he promised investors “a thousand marks for a certificate” and with the help of his own acquisition network, through which he once offered Avon cosmetic products door-to-door, he collected nine billion former tolars of capital in the first wave of certificates, i.e., ninety times more than his basic investment in the management company. Horvat left his mark forever in the history of Slovenian privatisation with at least two achievements. First, in 1999, with the takeover of Tehnounion, in which the High Court only seven years later found that it was carried out in violation of takeover legislation. Small shareholders of Tehnounion, which Horvat allegedly exhausted on a large scale, were also recognised by the higher court as having the right to compensation after failure at the court of first instance. In 2006, however, Horvat upset the 68,000 shareholders of Aktiva Invest, Certius Invest, Aktiva Avant, and Arkade Holding, whom he wanted to unite under the umbrella of Aktiva Invest. He intended to admit only 63 shareholders who owned shares with a total nominal value of at least one million former tolars, and to pay all the others a modest monetary compensation as severance pay.
And what is the epilogue of Horvat’s whole story? “It is impossible to get in touch with Horvat. Thus, it is not clear whether the Slovenian police have already managed to establish contact with him through Interpol, as there are at least two pre-trial proceedings against him,” they wrote in Siol five years ago.