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Economy Minister dismisses SARIO head Roman Kuruc

ECONOMY Minister Jirko Malchárek, speaking at a news conference on the morning of October 25, said he has dismissed Roman Kuruc from his post as head of the Slovak Investment and Trade Agency (SARIO).

Malchárek said that he decided to dismiss Kuruc because he failed to carry out government directives concerning a planned investment in Slovakia made by the Swiss-based company SKY Media, which as a consequence led to financial losses worth several tens of millions of crowns, the TASR news wire reported.

Czech investment agency Czechinvest founder and long-time head, Jan Amos Havelka, will replace Kuruc in the post.

Malchárek views the work of SARIO, which works with investors active in Slovakia and has had six directors in seven years, as inefficient. The agency is in need of restructuring and must cooperate more with the regions. He described the focus on foreign investors as wrong. "I see no distinction between foreign and domestic investors," he said.

Slovakia, Malchárek conceded, may have lost investors because of what he described as "the climate of bickering or investor-buying (with high stimuli)."

In April 2004, the government approved investment stimuli of over Sk800 million (€21 million) for Sky Media, a European leader in the sphere of CD and DVD production.

The company was due to start manufacturing CDs and DVDs in Nové Mesto nad Váhom (Trenčín region) in March 2006. However, Sky Media later changed its plans, and decided to simply package the CDs and DVDs in Slovakia instead. This led to accusations that proper checks were not being carried out on the use of investment stimuli.

The Economy Ministry recently carried out its own investigation to check whether the state subsidies provided for this investment had been used in line with the original conditions set, TASR claimed.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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