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Slovak Supreme Court rules confidential privatisation contract is illegal

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, November 3, that the government’s decision to keep as classified the privatisation contract for sale of Slovenské Telekomunikácie was unlawful and that the contract will have to be made public, the TASR newswire reported.

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, November 3, that the government’s decision to keep as classified the privatisation contract for sale of Slovenské Telekomunikácie was unlawful and that the contract will have to be made public, the TASR newswire reported.

A majority stake in fixed-line company Slovenské Telekomunikácie was sold by Mikuláš Dzurinda's former government to Germany's Deutsche Telecom in 2000.

The Supreme Court ruling on the matter was instigated by civil association Citizen and Democracy, which has long struggled to have the contract declassified.

“We've been calling for this for years so it's happened at last,” said Šarlota Pufflerová from the association to TASR. She said the court's ruling sets a precedent and should alter the stance of the state vis-a-vis making documents public. The association's lawyer Peter Wiffling believes that the judgment is a breakthrough.

This is the only contract that has been classified as a state secret, unlike others which were kept under wraps on the grounds of business secrecy. Wiffling thinks that the state misused the law on the protection of classified information. It isn't yet known when the Transport, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry will make the contract public as it has refused to comment on the new situation. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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