The head of Slovakia’s Tax Directorate, Miroslav Mikulčík, told a press conference on April 13 that he does not see the rental arrangements for a building used by the Tax Directorate in Košice as a reason for him to resign. Mikulčík said that rental of the building, which is partly owned by Nitra Invest, a company owned by businessman Ondrej Ščurka, would save the state about €3.5 million in the upcoming years.
Opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico told the media on April 11 that the Tax Directorate headed by Mikulčík, who Fico said is a personal friend of Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš, earlier this year signed a contract to rent a building in Kosice with Ščurka’s Nitra Invest. Fico said Ščurka is also chairman of the Nitra branch of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Mikloš’ party. Fico said the deal guaranteed Ščurka rental of €6.6 million over 5 years and alleged that some of the money would “certainly” end up in the coffers of the SDKÚ, TASR reported.
Prime Minister Iveta Radičová (also from the SDKÚ) later met Mikloš and Mikulčík to discuss Fico’s allegations. The SDKÚ’s partners in the ruling coalition have called for a thorough explanation of the case, while Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party leader Richard Sulík has demanded that the prime minister takes the same approach to the SDKÚ as she took towards his party when doubts emerged around the so-called Liberal House, which SaS had intended to rent to its own deputies using public funds, Sme daily reported.
Meanwhile, Radičová's spokesman Rado Baťo said she would wait to hear the Tax Directorate's explanation before commenting.
On April 13, Sme reported that the very first order that Nitra Invest had received after its establishment in 2004 came from an SDKÚ member, then mayor of Nitra, Ferdinand Vítek, who appointed Ščurka to buy up property for the Nitra Sever (Nitra North) industrial park. Vítek did not pick Ščurka through a tender, Sme wrote. Smer deputy Milan Burda claims that Nitra Invest has been selling the property for a much higher price to investors than the purchase price. Burda estimated that Ščurka must have earned Sk500 million [approximately €16.6 million] on the deal, Sme wrote.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
13. Apr 2011 at 14:00