LOOKING AT the financing of the New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) party, it truly seems to be a one-man business.
"Chairperson Pavol Rusko gives the most finances," said Jozef Heriban, member of the party's executive council. "Other sources of income include membership fees and money from sponsors, but members' contributions are the dominant source," he added.
Rusko said in an August 6 interview with the daily Sme that Ano has so far cost him around Sk25 million ($550,000). He also said he expected to provide further Sk10 to Sk15 million before parliamentary elections, set for September 20 and 21.
"I finance it [the party] from my own means, or together with my business partner Janko Kováčik," Rusko said.
"We have borrowed money from our own companies, but I have mostly used money from the sale of my ownership interest in Markíza," Rusko explained.
Rusko has confessed to paying a membership contribution of Sk14.8 million ($328,000). If this amount had been registered as a donation, Rusko would have to pay a tax of almost Sk2.5 million ($56,000), but by listing the money as a membership fee, Rusko avoided the tax duty, because party membership fees are exempt from taxation.
"Each crown that I put into the political party, I take away from my family. Do you want to criticise me for not using a way to take a further two million from them?" said Rusko in defence, adding that he has not broken any laws.
Rusko also said that other members had given tens of thousands, or even half a million to the party.
If Rusko is successful in reaching parliament, he will have to give up his business activities, a move he claims he is prepared to make.