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Sme: Novotný did play role in arranging Osrblie subsidy

A former advisor of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, Martin Novotný, who has been charged in the alleged corruption case surrounding the biathlon stadium in Osrblie, received information about arranging the subsidies for completion of the stadium directly from the Government Office, the Sme daily has reported.

A former advisor of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, Martin Novotný, who has been charged in the alleged corruption case surrounding the biathlon stadium in Osrblie, received information about arranging the subsidies for completion of the stadium directly from the Government Office, the Sme daily has reported.

The grant to the Slovak Biathlon Association (SZB) and the Biathlon Club Osrblie from the state was intended to contribute to the completion of a multifunctional building with rooms for referees, coaches, athletes, health-care workers and media crews. The government assigned a total of €1.6 million for the purpose, with €1 million to come from the Education Ministry, €300,000 from the Finance Ministry and the other €300,000 from the prime minister’s financial reserve.

“Immediately, some persons appeared who started acting as if 10 percent belonged to them,” Prime Minister Iveta Radičová said earlier this year when she announced that the government had suspended the grant after €300,000 of it had been paid out. She referred to events that occurred on July 29, when police detained three people alleged to have been in the act of passing a bribe of €30,000, or 10 percent of the state’s grant up to that time.

Novotný received the information by e-mail from the head of the Government Office, Katarína Vajdová, Sme wrote in its Wednesday, September 7, issue. It was through her that Novotny arranged an audience for biathletes with Radičová, who then promised to help them. Sme wrote that Novotný's lawyer, Dušan Ivan, had confirmed this information on September 6. However, Ivan denied that his client had influenced anyone in connection with the arrangement of a subsidy. Police say they have evidence against Novotný in the form of e-mails from March and May between Vajdová and the biathletes regarding the subsidy. Novotný also received these e-mails. Vajdová is on holiday and the Government Office declined to comment, Sme reported on September 7.

At a meeting with Olympic gold medallist Anastasia Kuzmina, arranged by Novotný, Radičová promised money for completion of the biathlon stadium. In August, the office claimed that Novotný, as external advisor, had no way to influence prime ministerial subsidies for sport. Spokesman Rado Baťo has now confirmed that the request of biathletes to meet Radičová was mediated through Novotný.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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