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Whirlpool: Ministry must come clean

THE SUPREME Court ordered the Economy Ministry to disclose information on its investment contract with home appliances' producer Whirlpool Slovakia, the SITA news agency reported.

The civic association, Friends of the Earth-CEPA, filed the complaint. The group would like to know on what basis the Slovak cabinet decided in 2003 that the investment was in the public interest and that expropriating private land for the state was justified.

The ministry argued that such disclosure could damage the investor's interests.

The Supreme Court, however, ordered the ministry to deal with the pressure group's request.

The court also ruled that the ministry must justify any decision to keep sections of the contract confidential.

The ministry reacted sharply, its spokesman Maroš Havran telling the SITA news agency, "Nobody has said we have violated the law; it is necessary to rework this."

He added that the ministry has adopted a new philosophy: "When signing contracts in the public interest with foreign investors we will not conceal the use of even a single crown of public finances."

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