Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic said at a press conference on March 5 that earlier in the day he filed a motion with the General Prosecutor's Office that would cancel the privatisation of the Bratislava Steam-Gas Cycle (PPC) company, saying that the privatisation was done unlawfully and the company was sold at too low a price, the TASR newswire reported.
"A serious violation of the law took place, with the probable co-operation of Penta [financial group], representatives of the National Property Fund (FNM) and the Economy Ministry, causing damage to the state of Sk15 billion (€500 million)," Lipšic stated, as quoted by TASR, adding that he had to file the motion before this Saturday's general election because after then he said the matter would probably be swept under the carpet.
The Bratislava-based PPC was sold by the FNM in 2004 to a Cyprus-based company called PPC Holding that apparently is owned by Penta. Lipšic said FNM permitted the sale of PPC in 2004 for SK2 billion (€66 million) despite knowing that this would cause a loss of SK7-15 billion (€232-500 million) to the state-run electricity provider, Slovenské Elektrárne, because of a disadvantageous contract it had with PPC that is valid until 2013. "This is one of the reasons for the current high prices of electricity in Slovakia," Lipšic stated, as quoted by TASR.
The minister added that the FNM commission that selected the winner of the tender in the PPC privatisation was headed by Anna Bubeníková, who the minister said pushed through Penta's bid though there were varying opinions on the offer.
Bubeníková has been featured in the unverified Gorilla files as arranging various deals with Penta's Jaroslav Haščák and was dismissed from her post as FNM executive committee director earlier this year.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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