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Minister withdraws Slovnaft fine

THE OIL refinery Slovnaft does not yet have to pay the Sk1.3 billion (€33 million) fine that the Finance Ministry imposed last year. Slovnaft was accused of abusing its dominant market position and breaking price discipline.

Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš yesterday surprisingly withdrew the ministry's original decision . The ministry's control section will now review the Slovnaft case, the Hospodárske noviny daily wrote.

Mikloš said that the ministry's original verdict should be "analyzed more deeply so that the risks of possible loss in court in the future are cut to a minimum".

Slovnaft already signalled that it would take the case to court.

Slovnaft appealed the original ministry's decision on the fine and the minister, as an appeal authority in this case, accepted some of the refinery's objections. However, he backed the majority of the arguments of the appeals commission, which maintained its justification for the fine.

Mikloš admitted, however, that the original verdict had several weak spots. The ministry now has 90 days to deliver a new decision but Mikloš thinks that no more than 30 days will actually be needed.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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