This paper identifies and examines informal structures and networks in Slovenia that have facilitated widespread corruption and reduced the effects of anticorruption reforms.
As used in this paper, "corruption" is defined as offering, receiving, or demanding a bribe for favorable decisions by a public or private individual in a position of authority. Criminal offenses that involve corruption are specified in Slovenia's penal code. Informal networks that facilitate corruption arise as persons in influential positions develop ongoing contacts that are regularly used to benefit the parties involved. These networks increasingly operate by principles that apply to organized criminal associations. Surveys in Slovenia indicate that 52 percent of citizens view corruption as a serious problem, but relatively few report having been directly impacted by it. Their views have derived mainly from media reports. Slovenia has been involved in a pilot project designed to identify and examine informal networks in the areas of public procurement, party funding, lobbying, and the judiciary in four Eastern European countries in transition toward a democratic government and a market economy. Selected interviews conducted in the course of the pilot project in Slovenia reveal that a cross-section of Slovenian society view the political situation as stable and institutions as well-developed; however, the economy is in stagnation while a small percentage of people obtain wealth through informal networks that benefit participants. Tailoring laws to address forms of corruption will help, but law enforcement tactics and tools must also change, such as allowing law enforcement agents to conduct "sting" operations. Further, more effective mechanisms of accountability and transparency must be developed in order to make it more difficult for informal networks to conduct their business in secret and with impunity. 1 table and 15 references