IN SHORT

SDKÚ profits from sale of building

THE RULING Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party, led by PM Mikuláš Dzurinda, acted immorally in the sale of its building on Medená street in the centre of Bratislava, Milan Vajda, spokesman for the city mayor, told the SME daily.

The party profited from the sale of the building, which it inherited from the Democratic Union (DÚ) after it merged with the SDKÚ, and also enabled a private firm, Soul, to profit from the premises as well.

Soul is also believed to have taken on the SDKÚ's Sk22 million (€566,000) debt, a topic that SDKÚ officials refuse to talk about.

The city of Bratislava sold the building to the DÚ in 1999. As a gesture of good will because the 600 square-metre building was to be used for political rather than commercial purposes, the city sold the building at a low price.

In the 1999 contract the city also incorporated a clause, providing that should the political party want to sell the building within the next five years, it would first have to offer it to the city at an equally low price.

However, the SDKÚ sold the building shortly after the five-year term ran out for around Sk50 million (€1.28 million), thus earning a profit of some Sk47 million (€1.21 million), the daily wrote.

Although the SDKÚ's regional branch and its youth organization is still based in the Medená building, Soul, which bought the building, also occupies part of the premises and rents the rest of the building out to businesses at commercial prices.

A representative of Premisa, which rents premises in Medená, told SME that he paid Sk3,000 (€77.3) per square metre per year to Soul.

Soul representative Sidónia Bartová refused to talk to journalists.

The SDKÚ continues to refuse to answer media questions surrounding its debt. SDKÚ officials insisted that the party publishes all information that it is obliged to publish according to the existing laws.

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