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SDKÚ: Fico trying to distance himself from Branisko case

In reaction to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico's statement on April 17, SDKÚ chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda said that by establishing parliamentary investigating committees, Fico (Smer) is trying to distance himself from the scandal surrounding the siphoning of funds from the Branisko road tunnel, the TASR newswire wrote.

In reaction to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico's statement on April 17, SDKÚ chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda said that by establishing parliamentary investigating committees, Fico (Smer) is trying to distance himself from the scandal surrounding the siphoning of funds from the Branisko road tunnel, the TASR newswire wrote.

Dzurinda said that Fico "was bluffing, just as he has been bluffing on countless occasions" when he linked the scandal with former transport, posts, and telecommunications minister Gabriel Palacka.

Palacka had absolutely nothing to do with the case, which will eventually be revealed, Dzurinda said. And that's why the PM wanted to shift all communication on the issue to Parliamentary Chairman Pavol Paška, he continued.

Referring to the notion that politicians can police themselves, Dzurinda said: "We won't support the spirit of Mečiarism." This was in reply to a direct question on whether the SDKÚ rejects the idea of establishing parliamentary investigation committees.

Dzurinda regards the whole case - which erupted after Fico commented on it two weeks after investigators had brought charges - as psychological warfare aimed his party. Due to information presented by the media, Dzurinda said he didn't rule out that the law might have been violated during the construction of the tunnel. However, he said, this issue shouldn't be resolved by authorities.

"I can’t get down to brass tacks because I'm not a policeman,” he said. “This story has been investigated since 2004. I simply don't know whether funds were being siphoned at Branisko.”

He added that a prime minister should be careful not to influence police investigations.

"Never once did I telephone the police president throughout my entire time in office (1998-2006)," Dzurinda said. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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