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Mečiar says Elektra villa debt paid

VLADIMÍR Mečiar, chairman of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party, claims that this year he has managed to pay off the debt incurred from the purchase of his "Elektra" villa in Trenčianske Teplice (Trenčín region).

According to Mečiar, he settled the debt not through money, but with the property rights of his wife. What these property rights actually are is unclear. Everything is now settled, and there is even some money left over, Mečiar told journalists.

The former prime minister claims that he has sorted everything out in a proper way, using the services of a notary, and with witnesses in attendance. Everything has been paid off, and that can be verified. Mečiar expects checks to be carried out by the relevant authorities soon, the TASR news wire reported.

Mečiar stated that he no longer has any debts. Next year, he will pay the special transaction tax, and the whole operation will be completed.

Vladimír Mečiar moved into the reconstructed Elektra guesthouse in Trenčianske Teplice in 1999. Later, the media received information that the reconstruction work had cost around Sk40 million (€1.1 million). The financial police became interested in Mečiar's property, because his salary as premier could not have covered such high costs. Mečiar became irritable when questioned by journalists on the matter.

Before the last general election in 2002, Swiss entrepreneur Peter Ziegler stated that he had lent Mečiar up to Sk100 million (€2.6 million). Mečiar was due to start paying the debt back only in 2006, with a loan guaranteed by his property. Before the presidential election in 2004, when Mečiar was a candidate, he announced that someone else had taken on responsibility for his debts.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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