TIPOS, the state-owned lottery company, will not have to pay €66 million to a Cypriot company, Lemikon. Slovakia’s Constitutional Court recently ruled that a decision handed down by the Supreme Court at the end of 2010 had violated Tipos’ rights to legal protection and a fair trial because the case was reassigned to judges other than those originally appointed. The Sme daily wrote that this ruling may lead to a disciplinary case being brought against Supreme Court president Štefan Harabin.
The long-running legal dispute began in 2000 when a Czech company, Športka, filed a €10-million suit against Tipos claiming that Tipos was using Športka’s know-how in Slovakia’s lotteries and games of chance. Later the damages sought increased to €30 million.
Lemikon purchased Športka’s claims against Tipos in 2008 and in that year Slovakia’s Supreme Court ruled that Tipos had to pay €30 million in damages as well as the trial costs. The general prosecutor at that time, Dobroslav Trnka, filed an appeal against the ruling.
The Supreme Court then ruled at the end of 2010 that Tipos must pay more than €14 million to Lemikon while rejecting Trnka’s charges about several flaws in the trial. During the 2010 trial Harabin replaced three of the five members of the senate hearing the case for the Supreme Court.
Zuzana Čaputová, an attorney associated with the Via Iuris civic association, told Sme that based on the decision of the Constitutional Court, Harabin’s actions should be investigated to determine whether he committed a disciplinary offence. Sme wrote that Harabin has already been investigated for possible discipline because of similar behaviour in another case.
31. Oct 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff