Former prime minister and Smer chairman Robert Fico was ordered by Bratislava I District Court on October 8 to apologise to Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš (SDKÚ) over statements Fico made regarding Mikloš's wealth in 2003 in relation to the privatisation of Slovak gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Podnik (SPP), the TASR newswire reported.
The court ruled that Fico's statement was beyond acceptable criticism and ordered Fico to make an apology via news agencies, radio stations and television channels. The former prime minister’s lawyer, Zuzana Kupcová, has 15 days to appeal the ruling.
Neither Fico nor Mikloš attended the court session. Fico was said to be "occupied" while it was reported that Mikloš "is on a business trip to the US".
At a press conference in 2003, Fico, then an opposition MP, called Mikloš "an extraordinarily wealthy man who, thanks to commissions from SPP's privatisation, may even be richer than [former premier Vladimír] Mečiar", TASR wrote. Mikloš denied the allegations and filed a criminal complaint against Fico.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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11. Oct 2010 at 14:00