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IN SHORT

Fico accuses SDKÚ of money laundering

"THE ELECTION campaign of the SDKÚ is one large washing machine for dirty money," according to Smer Chairman Robert Fico.

Smer accused the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) of Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda of financing its election campaign, which Smer claims costs Sk250-300 million, from shady deals arranged by the SDKÚ's government ministers.

According to Fico, the ministers are selling state property for low prices putting the difference into the SDKÚ's pockets, the Pravda daily wrote.

Fico quoted the example of the sale of buildings and land in the centre of Banská Bystrica. According to Smer, the local aircraft repair company, Letecké opravovne, which is administered by the Defence Ministry, sold some real estate to a businessman for Sk7.5 million in February this year. According to Fico, however, the actual value of the property was Sk40 million.

The businessman, Dušan Hraško, donated Sk500,000 to the SDKÚ in 2001, according to the Pravda daily. His company, Teleko & Telecooper, also gained Sk120 million in state orders in the past.

The SDKÚ said that Smer's allegations were false and that the opposition party was only trying to hurt its name ahead of the elections.

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