Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš won his lawsuit about statements by opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico, who accused him of receiving kickbacks in the privatisation of the national gas utility SPP, news wire TASR wrote.
According to the District Court ruling, Fico must publish his apology in several specified media, but does not have to pay Sk600,000 (€14,851) as compensation to Mikloš.
Also, the court did not accept Mikloš' arguments that these statements had caused a drop in his political support.
Fico, a lawyer who defended himself in the case, criticized the court for bringing a verdict in his absence, without notifying him on the date of the main trial.
He is considering appealing the first-tier decision at the Regional Court.
Standing firmly behind his statements, Fico said the privatisation contract was absolutely disadvantageous: "And if people sign disadvantageous contracts, most usually they get something in return".
At a Smer press conference in February last year, statements were made about Mikloš and his lawyer Ernest Valko that tried to connect them with corruption and cronyism.
Fico even hinted that Mikloš might be wealthier than former three-time Prime Minister Vladimir Meèiar, whose ability to finance the reconstruction of his villa, Elektra, remains not fully explained to the public.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
3. Mar 2004 at 10:02