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Slota faces charges over Kia

The attorney general suspects that public officials may have abused their powers in granting a construction permit to the Korean motor company Kia to build a factory near Žilina in northern Slovakia.

Žilina mayor, Ján Slota, signed the permit without consulting the owners of adjoining land. The attorney general has asked the district attorney in Rimavská Sobota to oversee the case, possibly in order to avoid political interference, according to the daily SME.

Police in Žilina were instructed to begin a criminal investigation at the end of last year.

The state has still to purchase 50 acres of land on the Kia site. Marek Benedik, the representative of the landowners, claims to be representing an unnamed company that will buy the land for the price claimed by the owners, Sk350 per square metre.

It would exchange this land for other land held by the state land agency in various parts of Slovakia. Although the deal would mean a loss for the unnamed company, it is prepared to undertake it as it expects the value of the land to increase in future and it is otherwise impossible to acquire state land.

Benedik claims that the deal could be closed next week. If successful, he would withdraw all the lawsuits the residents have launched in this matter.
Slota has promised the Koreans that the land issue will be resolved by the end of January.

Compiled by Roger Heyes from press reports
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