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Rusko goes public with his defence

THE SLOVAK dailies SME, Pravda and Novy čas all published letters written by Economy Minister Pavol Rusko explaining how he paid off the controversial promissory notes worth Sk104.5 million (€2.68 million), the news wire TASR wrote.

"I'm legally allowed, even if I'm a minister, to be shareholder, owner of a private firm. I'm also allowed to invest according to how I see fit," Rusko's advertisement reads.

According to the advertisement, Rusko gained Sk100 million in 2000 for the sale of his share in TV Markiza. Being a shareholder in other companies, he earned additional income. By the time he entered politics, he had also made money by speaking at public functions.

Rusko says that the promissory notes served as guarantees for debts in the past, while some of the funds covered his future investments.

The text reads that he started to pay off the promissory notes on October 9, 2003, when he paid Sk6.125 million back to companies Norex Digital, www.markiza.sk, ZT Slovakia trading, Fajn Production and Lenox. On November 3, 2003, he paid off his debt of Sk19.294 million in three instalments to Minerfin. Also in November 2003, he paid off a personal debt of Sk10.6 million. The loan worth Sk28.5 million, which was created during 2003, was paid off in January 2004.

At that time, Rusko planned to found a new publishing company, on which he planned to use Sk40 million. However, the project was not realized, so he paid the money back.

"All the listed data are backed by relevant contracts and documents," Rusko says in his closing argument.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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