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Fico: Privatization of SPP was biggest theft in Slovak history

The sale of the country's natural gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) was the biggest theft in Slovak history, and Parliament will therefore adopt a resolution on it, Prime Minister and Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico said on January 15.

The sale of the country's natural gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) was the biggest theft in Slovak history, and Parliament will therefore adopt a resolution on it, Prime Minister and Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico said on January 15.

Speaking after discussions between the ruling coalition, Fico said that a report commissioned by Parliament on the conduct of the SPP privatization points to serious breaches of the law.

A case in point, he further stated, is the loss of notary minutes on the opening of the bid envelopes. The privatization involved a host of other shortcomings, such as the failure to provide for exchange-rate loss in the privatization contract. According to Fico, the parliamentary resolution will include a call for the Prosecutor General's Office and the Supreme Audit Office to take action. Slovakia sold a 49-percent stake and management control of SPP in 2002 for $2.7 billion to a consortium made up of Gaz de France and Germany's Ruhrgas.

ĽS-HZDS chairman Vladimír Mečiar said that the parliamentary declaration will be targeted at the conduct of Slovak institutions rather than the foreign investors. The contracts concerned are confidential, and can be disclosed only by a third party. Mečiar said that he knew someone who was in possession of legal copies of all three contracts, and would ask him to publish some of them. SNS vice-chair Anna Belousovová said that the coalition parties have agreed on joint action at the next parliamentary session.

Also at the Coalition Council session, the HZDS and SNS leaders restated their opposition to Smer's legislative proposal to curtail MPs' immunity. The three party leaders have yet to reach agreement on the co-ordination of the allocation of EU funds. As for the ratification of the EU Reform Treaty, the three parties expect it to sail through Parliament with their support.

Fico is trying to conceal both the ruling Coalition's and his own problems by raising the privatization of the SPP, Ivan Mikloš, vice-chair of the opposition SDKÚ-DS party, said on the same day.

Robert Fico told plenty of lies during the SPP privatization process. We're ready to discuss the issue at a parliamentary session," said Mikloš, adding that Fico's problems lied in the coalition scandal surrounding the Slovak Land Fund (SPF) and his inability to prove the origin of his own property.

According to him, the Smer-SD leader began telling lies during the SPP privatization. "Fico was a member of the commission that was in charge of the privatization, and he had access to all the documents. He left the commission, however. Why?" Mikloš asked. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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