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Emissions quotas sale prosecution stopped
8 Oct 2013 Flash News
THE INVESTIGATION of one of the biggest scandals of the 2006-2010 Robert Fico government has wrapped up, the Sme daily wrote in its October 8 issue.
The police stopped the investigation with the conclusion that the deed is not considered a crime, Sme reported, citing TV Markíza, who broke the story in its October 6 news programme.
The case began in 2008 when the state sold its excess CO2 emissions quotas to a small, unknown firm then operating out of a garage called Interblue Group, at €5.05 per tonne, a price significantly lower than the market price at that time. The police estimated the damages the state might have suffered at €66 million.
The deal resulted in the dismissal of at least two ministers, as well as the Slovak National Party (SNS) eventually losing political control of the ministry. The murky US-based firm was subsequently dissolved and was reported to have been re-established as Interblue Group Europe, registered in Switzerland.
Slovakia withdrew from the contract, which guaranteed Interblue Group the pre-emptive right to purchase additional quotas to emit 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, back in 2010. Interblue Group Europe has objected to Slovakia’s withdrawal.
Last year, Interblue Group insisted that Slovakia should sell it quotas to emit 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide based on the original contract. Slovakia said no to the firm in December 2012, with Environment Minister Peter Žiga explaining: “I do not have a relevant partner who would demonstrate the relevant legal succession of the American firm Interblue,” as quoted by the SITA newswire.
The police have been investigating the case since 2009. A criminal prosecution was launched for violating the duties in administering others’ property and for the crime of abusing the powers of public officials. No specific people were charged.
The Environment Ministry filed a protest against the halting of the prosecution. The prosecutor’s office now must decide about the ministry’s appeal, Sme wrote.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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