Ministers' restaurant used for press conference

THE AGENCY for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprise (NADSME), which is under the Economy Ministry, held a press conference on August 22 at the Steam & Coffee restaurant owned by two government ministers, paying an undisclosed sum of public money in rent.

According to the business register, the restaurant is owned by the FoRest company, whose shareholders since 2000 have included Finance Minister Ján Počiatek and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, both of the Smer party of the ruling coalition.

Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek is also a member of the Smer party.

According to its web site, NADSME moved on July 17 from its old premises to Miletičová 23 in Bratislava; the agency's web page alerts viewers that the Steam & Coffee restaurant is on the ground floor.

NADSME spokeswoman Elena Konôpková said that her agency had approached four other restaurants, each of which had asked for more money. "Since we have to use public money wisely, we picked the lowest offer," she said.

However, Konôpková refused to say how much the agency had paid, adding she had not known the restaurant belonged to the ministers.

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