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IN SHORT

Mečiar asked to account for Sk12 billion

THE DAILY Sme claims to have evidence that Sk12 billion ($270 million) went missing or was used illegally from two state accounts from 1993 to 1998 by the then-government headed by Vladimír Mečiar.

Most of the money - Sk15 billion in proceeds from the 'minor privatisation' programme earmarked for restitution and municipalities - was first deposited in a private account at the Privatisation Ministry that was opened in 1991.

Most of the funds were then transferred to an account at the FNM privatisation fund, which neither accounted for how the money was subsequently used nor kept records of which companies it was lent to.

The case has been under investigation by state officials and the anti-fraud police since 1998.

A second secret account was allegedly set up at the Privatisation Ministry in 1996, through which land and property was sold cheaply to political allies and friends.

Records on the account were kept by hand in a notebook, the paper writes, with the money from the sales going to pay bonuses for ministry officials, as well as to support the now defunct Slovenská Republika paper, which was close to the government.

The paper cites a 1997 report by the Supreme Audit Office and a current ministry official, Jana Filinová, for its information.

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