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Parliament passes origin of property law

PEOPLE who are unable to prove how they acquired their property may lose it, if its value is Sk 6.5 million (€169, 800) higher than the person's legal income, according to a new law passed in parliament June 23.

Justice Minister Daniel Lipšic, the co-author of the law together with the opposition Smer party, said the law was an "important tool in the fight against corruption and crime", according to the daily SME.

Of the present 144 MPs a strong majority of 114 supported the law. Most of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) abstained from voting while its leader, Slovakia's controversial ex-PM Vladimír Mečiar, was not present in parliament at all.

Mečiar has been refusing to explain how he acquired his huge Vila Elektra in Trenčianske Teplice for years. According to invoices leaked to the public, Mečiar paid Sk41 million (€1.1 million) in cash for the reconstruction of the villa.

When stepping down as Prime Minister in 1998, however, he said that he had nothing but a "tiny [Opel] Corsa" car. Later a German businessman, Peter Ziegler, confirmed that he had lent the money to Mečiar.

But if it really is a loan, Mečiar would have had to start paying off the loan this year and to the tune of Sk800,000 (€20,900) per month, SME wrote.

The most disputed aspect of the law is the burden of proof. According to Smer chairman Robert Fico, if the burden of proof remains with the state, the law will have no effect.

In the end MPs divided the burden of proof between the prosecution and the suspected person.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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