A profile of the businessman Ing. Stanislav Šišlák, co-founder of Coopex Codum, a.s., was published in this space in March 1995. The article focused on the SAEF's (Slovak American Enterprise Fund) decision to invest in the production company of which Ing. Šišlák was majority owner at the time. The project was also supported, as one with great potential, by Slovenská Záručná Banka (Slovak Guarantee Bank).
But what happened next, is almost unbelievable for those who do not know Slovakia well. Almost before the SAEF entered the company, it decided to remove Ing. Šišlák, a member of the Board of Directors and the general director, and his wife, the company's accountant and the project's co-author, from their positions. Despite protests, these moves were made unlawfully (according to a Slovak Supreme Court decision from October 1996) and without giving any reason (allegedly no reason is needed in a joint stock company). Under psychological and physical pressure caused by hiring a third person, Ing. Šišlák was then forced to leave the company he had gradually built since 1990.
What was the SAEF's Managers motive to act this way?
After Mr. and Mrs. Šišlák's departure, the company stopped paying its debts without shareholders' consent. And in contradiction to the resolutions of the shareholders' General Meeting, property was transferred to a new company owned by one of the minority shareholders. Despite an agreement between SAEF and Ing. Šišlák about the right of refusal for shares - what a surprise - the SAEF sold its stake to the aforementioned "chosen" minority shareholder for about one-tenth of the value that was paid at the time of purchase in 1995. This means that within a year and a half, the value was approximately 8.5 mil. Sk less.
Whom did the SAEF help then? Who supports these kind of financial dealings, or even frauds? Where did the 8.5 mil. Sk from American tax-payers really go? Will anyone with authority start to be at all interested?
During the development of this case, step by step I informed the SAEF president, the director of the American Business Center, the USAID general inspector, and the American Embassy in Bratislava, but unfortunately with no result. I cannot believe that this is the way American help to small Slovak businessmen is meant to be.
Ing. Stanislav Šišlák is the author of this paid advertisement, in unfortunate contrast to the article two years ago
4. Dec 1997 at 0:00