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Smer says minister still involved with Agrotrade

THE OPPOSITION party Smer insists that Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon still has influence in Agrotrade, an agricultural firm that received agricultural funding of Sk8 million (€205,000) in 2003.

Smer chairman Robert Fico is demanding that Simon step down from his post because the minister only made a formal sale of the company, and that his cousin gained a shooting range, the daily SME reported.

Simon said the allegations are not worth commenting on and his Hungarian Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) continues to back him.

According to Fico, Simon still controls Agrotrade through his cousin Peter Polóni, who is also behind the Barvik company, which gained the rental contract for a shooting range close to Rimavská Sobota that spreads on around 2,000 hectares of land.

Simon's spokeswoman Katarína Czajlíková said, however, that the minister had nothing to do with either of the firms and that "we are sorry that as part of its pre-election fight Smer uses such deplorable practices".

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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