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Media report body could be missing Tipos lawyer

ACCORDING to local media, a body found in bushes near Jabloňovce is that of lawyer Roman Ožvold, who until last year worked as the chairman of the supervisory board of Slovakia's Tipos national lottery company. The village is nearby Žemberovce where the last signal of Ožvold’s mobile phone was registered, the Sme daily reported on June 29. Slovak police have not officially confirmed the identity of the body.

ACCORDING to local media, a body found in bushes near Jabloňovce is that of lawyer Roman Ožvold, who until last year worked as the chairman of the supervisory board of Slovakia's Tipos national lottery company. The village is nearby Žemberovce where the last signal of Ožvold’s mobile phone was registered, the Sme daily reported on June 29. Slovak police have not officially confirmed the identity of the body.

In 2008 Ožvold negotiated with the Cyprus-based Lemikon company, along with Milan Kapusta, the CEO of Tipos, to settle claims regarding the lottery company’s alleged illegal use of know-how belonging to the Czech lottery company Športka.

Lemikon had bought Športka’s rights in the lawsuit, which remains before the courts, in 2008. Former finance minister Ján Počiatek said the discovery of the body was disturbing because Ožvold was his friend and he had nominated him for the Tipos post. But Ožvold represented many companies and was not the key person in Tipos, Počiatek told Sme.

Ernest Valko, another lawyer involved in the Lemikon-Tipos lawsuit, was found shot dead in his home in November 2010. Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic said it would be premature to speculate about whether the cases are intertwined, motives or the course of events as this could threaten the ongoing investigations, Sme reported.

“Speculating today on what happened and about potential motives would not only be preliminary but also would threaten the investigation,” Lipšic said at a press conference. “I understand that media will speculate and link perhaps even things that are not directly related, which is their job, but it would be irresponsible if we start speculating about it.”

The lawsuit against Tipos

The legal dispute involving Tipos began in January 2000 when Športka, a Czech lottery company, sued Slovakia's state-owned lottery firm over what it called unauthorised use of lottery trademarks as well as technical know-how. The companies also litigated the issue of appropriated business practices and lost profit to Športka, with the Czech firm suing Tipos for Sk300 million.

A Cyprus-based firm, Lemikon Limited, which is associated with businessman Radovan Vitek, purchased Športka’s legal claim against Tipos in October 2008. That same year Tipos paid roughly €16 million to Lemikon’s account. Last year, the Slovak Supreme Court ordered Tipos to pay more than €14 million for the unauthorised use of trademarks. Tipos now has said that it expects Lemikon to return around €1.9 million as the payment made in 2008 was that much more than the damages awarded by the Supreme Court.

The part of the lawsuit concerning unauthorised use of know-how was returned to the Regional Court in Bratislava by the Supreme Court because of recently-uncovered contractual documents between Tipos and Športka.

According to Sme, Tipos had paid a significant amount to Športka for the use of its know-how and had contracts to prove this. Between 1993 and 1995, when the contracts expired, Tipos reportedly had paid almost Sk286 million to Športka. In 2000 when Športka sued Tipos, it demanded an additional Sk265 million for the alleged unauthorised use of know-how.

Lemikon’s attorney, Tomáš Rybář, conceded to Sme that the new facts could “theoretically” change the basis of the continuing lawsuit.

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