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Former SPP finance director guilty of fraud

THE BRATISLAVA Regional Court sentenced Ivan Maroš, former financial director of national gas utility SPP, to nine years in prison plus a Sk2 million (€50,000) fine for transferring $10 million (€8.3 million) belonging to the company to a private account.

The prosecutor and Maroš have the right to appeal decision.

Another account in the indictment, alleged fraud involving five bills of exchange issued by former SPP director Ján Ducký totaling 350 million Czech crowns was not included, as the court considers that case a legal deal.

On September 28, 1998, shortly before Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's first government took power, Ducký signed the five bills of exchange. In January 1999 he was shot and killed by an unknown assassin.

Maroš was to sign a fictitious deal for the purchase of unspecified devices with the Czech company Sezooz Group, but when the deal was not closed, the bills of exchange ended up in the Czech Union Banka.

Maroš also signed a transfer of $10 million to Sezooz, for which he was found guilty. Union Banka is seeking to recover the bills of exchange through the court. Since their deposit, the owed amount and accrued interest have grown to total more than Sk600 million (€15 million). The Regional and Supreme Courts upheld the bank's lmotion, but later the Supreme Court Appellate Senate cancelled the decisions and returned the case to the Regional Court.

The Ukrainian man accused of committing Ducký's murder remains free while police investigate the case.

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