NEWS IN SHORT

Official dismissed over suspicious recordings

IVAN Ištvánffy, the Slovak Government Office's foreign aid section director and previously an adviser to former prime minister Robert Fico, has been dismissed over two controversial recordings from the previous election term. The ČTK newswire reported the story, which the Sme daily broke on August 3.

IVAN Ištvánffy, the Slovak Government Office's foreign aid section director and previously an adviser to former prime minister Robert Fico, has been dismissed over two controversial recordings from the previous election term. The ČTK newswire reported the story, which the Sme daily broke on August 3.

Ištvánffy talks on the recordings with businesspeople about the preparation of a tender for €2.66 million. The recordings indicate that the tender was politically influenced and non-transparent.

According to Sme the subject of the tender was the building of technological infrastructure needed to spread the internet into municipalities. It was to be financed from Norwegian, Swiss, Icelandic and Liechtenstein funds.

Police are investigating.

“I will naturally tell you with whom you will be cooperating, with which political partners. These people are ready for you,” Ištvánffy says on the controversial recording, as quoted by ČTK.

He also speaks about “the meeting of certain ambitions of certain groups linked to the Government Office” and said that some municipalities to be included in the project would be chosen on political grounds.

He indicates that the order would be implemented via the operator Slovak Telekom, but that other companies must formally be talked to as well.

Ištvánffy has admitted to Sme that the recordings are genuine. He said, however, that when he spoke about political partners he meant municipalities and that “groups connected with the Government Office” were people from the European Union.

The paper wrote that the persons to whom Ištvánffy talked about the recordings included Rudolf Vadovič, head of the Octigon company, and his collaborators. Sme said it was unable to contact Vadovič.

Ištvánffy claimed that Octigon was preparing for the tender documents on the basis of an order from the Government Office dating from 2008.


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