Slovene Cabinet Rocked by Police Probe Into Covid-19 Gear Deal

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Slovenian police detained the economy minister and the interior minister quit during a graft probe into contracts for medical equipment to fight Covid-19.

Ales Hojs, who was scheduled to face a no confidence vote in the coming weeks, stepped down Tuesday along with the acting director of the European Union nation’s state police force.

Their decisions followed the detention of Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek, whose office oversaw the purchase of the equipment. Pocivalsek denies wronging, while Hojs said the charges were politically motivated.

The investigations are a plot “to discredit the ministers, to discredit the prime minister and to achieve the fall of this coalition,” Hojs told a news conference.

The focus of the investigation is an 8 million euro ($9 million) ventilator procurement deal, according to the Necenzurirano news website.

The scandal coincides with weeks of countrywide demonstrations against nationalist Prime Minister Janez Jansa. Protesters plan to demonstrate for an 11th-straight week Friday as they call for Jansa to step down because of alleged corruption, stifling media freedom and attacking the judiciary.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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