After days of media scrutiny and criticism from the prime minister, Finance Minister Ján Počiatek offered to resign over the weekend, suggesting that he would rather step down than see the Smer party tainted.
The move comes after the Plus Jeden Deň tabloid reported that Počiatek and Karol Biermann, the general director of the Bratislava airport, met Ivan Jakabovič, a partner in the J&T financial group, aboard Jakabovič’s yacht in Monte Carlo on May 28, a few days before the European Central Bank revalued the Slovak crown's central parity to the euro.
Certain financial groups, including J&T, earned millions due to the revaluation, leading former finance minister Ivan Mikloš to suggest that it had been leaked.
Regardless, Prime Minister Fico called Počiatek’s meeting “unethical” and “immoral” given his government’s proclaimed negative stance towards such firms.
“Though I have not done anything illegal, I do not want this affair to taint the Smer party,” Počiatek said as quoted by the Sme daily.
Fico has not officially responded to Počiatek’s offer, stating that he would decide over the next couple of days.
Meanwhile, the country’s opposition parties - the Christian Democratic Movement and the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union - have requested a no-confidence vote in Počiatek.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
23. Jun 2008 at 14:00