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Interview with Economy Ministry spokesman

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): Could you please explain what Minister Jahnátek meant by his statement about commissions in connection with arms deals? Did these commissions take the form of bribes?

Branislav Zvara (BZ):Well, there are contracts for commissions. Such things can exist in other countries around the whole world, too.


TSS: In what sense?

BZ: Well, they can exist.


TSS: And do they exist?

BZ: They can.


TSS: What does that mean - they can exist?

BZ: Contracts for commissions are a usual part of contacts, when such deals are involved. Moreover, you have to have a connection to such people, who in turn can make contacts to the right people. Mr. Minister was talking about legitimate contracts.


TSS: Transparency Interna-tional Slovakia condemned commissions for third-party countries because Slovakia has signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. Emília Sičáková-Beblavá wrote in Sme on March 27, "Corruption cannot be made legal by recording it on a company's books and calling it a fee. It is still corruption."

BZ: This issue is being kept alive and it will stay alive until the minister is recalled. The reason is that, due to the new regulation law, new bodies of the Regulation Office have been formed and by the end of June, the 'unbundling' must be completed.


TSS: What do you mean?

BZ: The European Union decreed that distribution companies cannot be dealers and transporters at the same time. And [they can't] move the goods and distribute them. A monopoly has developed through this. Unbundling means that new companies will develop in which we will demand an amount of representation in the energy companies' management that corresponds to their 51-percent ownership, in contrast to the way things are now.


TSS: Are we talking about the arms industry?

BZ:No, this was about the energy sector.


TSS: Could we possibly come back to the arms industry?

BZ: Look at the state the arms industry is in after privatization. That's it.


TSS: In what state? In a bad state?

BZ: Exactly.

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