The Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Keith Eddins, said on Monday, August 24, that he will not comment on information that the FBI is looking into the suspicious sale of emissions quotas to what has been called a 'garage company', the Interblue Group, based in the United States, the TASR newswire wrote.
On August 22, the Sme daily reported that the controversial sale that Slovakia's Environment Ministry carried out in 2008 has drawn the attention not only of Slovakia's Anti-Corruption Office but that one of Slovakia's former top diplomats told the daily that the emissions case is now being investigated by US authorities. The Interblue Group bought Slovakia's emissions quotas in 2008 and is based in a small American town.
“Their anti-corruption law is very tough. American companies have to comply with much more stringent rules for operations abroad than in the U.S.,” the former diplomat is quoted as having said. Under an agreement signed by the Environment Ministry, which has been blasted by the opposition for securing unfavourable terms for Slovakia, the country last year sold 15 million tonnes of emissions to the Interblue Group at a price of €5.05 per tonne.
The opposition claims that this was far less than sale prices negotiated by other countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic. Moreover, questions have been raised about Interblue Group itself, which was established only shortly before the transaction, TASR wrote.
After dismissing Environment Minister Viliam Turský on August 19, Prime Minister Robert Fico stated that he expects the new management of the Environment Ministry to take legal measures aimed at cancelling or unilaterally withdrawing from several controversial agreements including the sale of the emissions quotas. 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.
25. Aug 2009 at 10:00