In yet another bizarre twist to the tale of Slovakia’s sale of excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas, a man claiming to have represented Interblue Group, the mysterious purchaser, in its negotiations with the Slovak government emerged on Wednesday, March 24, to give an unexpected press conference in Bratislava.
Rastislav Bilas – dressed in a blazer, open-neck shirt and patterned cravat, and wearing sunglasses – announced that he and another man, Norbert Havalec, had negotiated the sale as ‘project managers’ for Interblue Group. Bilas also produced legal documents purporting to show that he had been given legal authority to act on Interblue’s behalf.
In this morning’s edition, the Sme daily wrote that Havalec, as well as acting for Interblue, also worked as an advisor to Jaroslav Izák, the environment minister at the time of the sale, and so was known to the Slovak side. Havalec is also alleged to have contacts with Ján Slota, the leader of the Slovak National Party (SNS), a junior party in the current ruling coalition. Bilas himself admits to being on good terms with Slota. Izák was nominated to his position as minister by the SNS.
Bilas added that Jana Lütken, who emerged late last year as an official representative of Interblue Group, was only a “clerk” who represented the US-based company’s real owner, who Bilas named as Czech businessman Marek Pleyer.
Sme reported that the government of Prime Minister Robert Fico did not organise any auction prior to selling the quotas to emit 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to Interblue at a price of just over €5 per tonne; and that Interblue then sold these on to four Japanese companies at a price of €8 per tonne, thus netting a profit of €45 million. Bilas commented that the Japanese purchasers seemed happy with the price they paid.
Both the current environment minister, Jozef Medveď, and Fico himself have so far refused to comment on the case.
For more information on this story, please see Interblue reloaded .
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. Mar 2010 at 10:00