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Imagemaker wins trial and Sk104 million

FEDOR Flašík, a media expert who prepared the pre-election campaign for a leading opposition party, Smer, won millions of crowns in a court trial with the formerly state owned IRB bank, Slovak daily SME reported.

According to some sources, the payment reached as much as Sk104 million (€2.4 million) but Flašík refused to confirm the amount. The court trial went on for years and was related to an earlier contract according to which Flašík's VOSS Slovakia firm had an exclusive right to prepare advertising for the bank.

That contract was apparently breached, and Flašík decided to sue the bank, arguing with a contract he signed with IRB in 1996.

According to the daily, however, Flašík's firm signed two contracts and although one of them set out sanctions for failing to fulfil the terms of the agreement, the second contract made no mention of financial sanctions at all.

IRB was privatised and purchased by the Hungarian OTP bank before the final ruling was delivered, but according to the privatisation contract, the sum was paid from the taxpayer's pockets, SME wrote.

Aside from his most recent connection to the Smer party, Flašík is known for his extensive advertising activities under the previous PM Vladimír Mečiar. His Donar firm at that time was a busy operation with plenty of lucrative advertising contracts for various companies, including state owned firms.

Flašík himself later admitted that his business did well under Mečiar thanks to links to the ex-PM's ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party.

In one interview for the now defunct Práca daily in April 2001, Flašík said: "The fact that the majority of lucrative deals were won by Donar from the HZDS cannot be argued against. It was clientelism or lobbyism, lets say it like that."

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