Several weeks ago an indictment filed in 2000 by Bratislava region prosecutor Michal Serbin was placed on the Internet containing the names and addresses of people charged (but never convicted) in the kidnapping of Michal Kováč Jr.
These people include Ľuboš K., Martin L. and Michal H., who share identical names and home addresses with men who work in firms with business ties to the Bratislava-based Istrokapitál financial group.
Ľuboš K., along with former SIS economic director Mária P., have since June 2000 been on the board of Váh a.s., where Istrokapitál holds a 54.21 per cent stake.
Slavomír Hrnčiar, vice-chairman of the Váh supervisory board, is also on the board of directors of ASIC (formerly Istrokapitál BG), while Váh's Milan Mintal was also in ASIC and is now in Istrokapitál, Stredoeuropský maklérsky dom and other firms housed at Istrokapitál's Bratislava address.
Dunajservis, the bidding vehicle Penta Group and Istrokapitál used to take an 87 per cent share in the SpaP shipping firm this spring, is part-owned by Gammapolis, where Martin L. is a director. The address of the firm is Pohronský Ruskov, the same as a mill by the same name owned by Vladimír Lexa Sr, father of former secret service boss Ivan.
JUDr Eva Pavlikovská, on the board of directors at Váh from 1999-2000 and active in other firms apparently close to former SIS employees and Vladimír Lexa Sr., is chair of the supervisory board at Istroinvest, also housed at Istrokapitál's building.
The Slovak Spectator spoke with Istrokapitál board member Miroslav Remeta on August 22.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): Why does an allegedly former SIS employee and two alleged kidnappers apparently figure in firms that have business relationships with the Istrokapitál house?
Miroslav Remeta (MR): Some of the things you have drawn my attention to are new for me, and I myself have just been looking through the Internet to become better informed.
The first thing I can tell you is that the Istrokapitál structure is a large one but is not directed from somewhere else - the people you have mentioned do not influence the decisions of Istrokapitál shareholders in any way.
In structures that are as big as ours, you find moments when people from various business groups come together on boards of companies. That's completely normal. We never had the feeling the people you have mentioned had any other than business interests, and quite frankly we had few tools to find out otherwise.
TSS: Jaroslav Haščák of Penta said when we asked him about the relations of these people to his firms, that Istrokapitál "cooperate on some projects with Michal H.". Can you comment?
MR: As far as Michal H. goes, we have worked with him in relation to various projects we have done with the Chirana firm, where he is chairman of the board. We don't hide the fact - he came to us from a successful firm with some interesting project proposals.
With regards to Ľuboš K. and Martin L., they hold managerial positions, Martin L. in Gammapolis and Ľuboš K. as the manager of the Hotel Váh in Piešťany, owned by Váh a.s. One of the conditions of the rental contract was that the people managing the property be in management positions in the company.
Overall, I would say that what we have here is a case of the skillful business activities of former SIS people.
TSS: What relations do you have, or did you have, to Vladimír Lexa Sr. or any member of his family?
MR: None whatsoever. I have never met any of the Lexa's, and as far as I know neither has any of Istrokapitál's directors, nor have we had any business dealings.
TSS: Does knowing the alleged background of some of the people you work with affect your view of them at all?
MR: We will take it into account, and if we get a court verdict then we may re-evaluate some of our situations.
I do think, though, that the state should do more to help businesses identify people who have or have had ties to the secret service. I think there are many more of them than we know in this country.
26. Aug 2002 at 0:00 | Tom Nicholson