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As long as it is, quote, 'transparent'...

THE INTERVIEW with Ľubomír Jahnátek was published in the March 21 issue of the Trend business magazine. What follows is an excerpt: it has been verified against the sound recording for accuracy.

THE INTERVIEW with Ľubomír Jahnátek was published in the March 21 issue of the Trend business magazine. What follows is an excerpt: it has been verified against the sound recording for accuracy.


Question:The Slovak defense sector makes mostly tanks and howitzers, which are not greatly in demand these days except in the Third World, where countries have liquidity and political stability problems, and where business is done through bribes. Let's be realistic - can state firms also include bribes on their accounts?

Answer: Look, we're talking about non-traditional forms of doing business. These non-traditional forms really exist. We would be lying if we didn't admit this fact. But I think that this is possible for state companies as well, it just has to be recorded somewhere on the books. I ask you - how does a private company, which also has to obey the laws of this country, and has to follow accounting best practices and obey the tax system, how does this private owner generate flows of dirty money to be used in non-traditional forms of doing business? These can be created only in legal ways. So why can't state firms do it as well?


Question: They can't, because they have to have various daughter companies set up in different countries. Mr. Minister, you're a businessman, you know how it works...

Answer: It's precisely because I am in business that I know very well how these money flows work. That's why I think that a state company could do it as well, really...


Question: But the government would change, an audit would be launched, and whoever had been in charge then would be punished...

Answer: As long as it was, quote, "transparent", everything is alright. As long as it is recorded and recordable. Because it has to be approved. And again, if a private company can do it, the state can as well. Because these are non-traditional forms of business, and we can't afford to close our eyes to them.

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