Vladimír Mečiar, the chairman of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), announced after a session of the Coalition Council on December 1 that he was not co-operating with any private companies and nor was he personally linked to any company.
Mečiar was reacting to an article published in Tuesday's issue of the Sme daily, according to which land restituents (people who had land belonging to them or their families returned after being seized by the communist authorities decades earlier) received land in the High Tatras that didn't originally belong to them before selling it on immediately at a fraction of its market price to a company called GVM. The daily stated that GVM is linked to Mečiar, and published restituents' claims that it was 'Mečiar's people' who helped them to acquire the lucrative plots, which were assigned to them by the Slovak Land Fund (SPF), now under the control of Smer, the HZDS’s partner in the ruling coalition.
According to Mečiar, the SPF is an autonomous body that makes decisions on its own. "There's a law obliging the state to deal with people who were deprived of their property and land and return it
[to those people]. When the state makes such a transfer that's the end of the matter. Nobody from the government or parliament will decide what a private owner does with the property," argued Mečiar, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška (Smer) said in connection with the issue that the information published by Sme was “not factual”. According to the daily, SPF director Miroslav Mihálik (a Smer appointee) and his deputy Adrian Sandorčin (a HZDS appointee) signed a contract in September 2009 according to which restituents from Košice Region received land in the High Tatras covering an area of 1.6 million square metres that was located around 200 kilometres from the plots that they should have received. Moreover, the restituents, the buyer (GVM), and the way in which the whole transfer was carried out were exactly the same as in a scandal in 2007 that involved land in Veľký Slavkov (Prešov Region). At that time, GVM lost its chance to build a golf course in Veľký Slavkov, as the land went back to the state. The daily commented that the new deal with the restituents was a kind of 'compensation'.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
2. Dec 2009 at 10:00