A Slovak who defrauded eight Austrian companies out of millions of euros did not materially damage Slovakia but has hurt the country's reputation, said Economy Minister Juraj Miškov from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party at a press conference after meeting representatives of the Austrian embassy on March 26, the TASR newswire reported.
Several Austrian companies paid the fraudster, who pretended to be a representative of the Slovak Economy Ministry, millions in 'administration fees' related to a phony construction project in Levice that was supposed to be worth €127 million.
"[The fraudster] has damaged Slovakia's good name in the eyes of foreign investors. The damage can hardly be calculated at the moment. We're striving to assure all investors that the entrepreneurial environment is stable and attractive and that we'll take decisive action if any fraud emerges," Miškov stated, as quoted by TASR.
The representatives of the Austrian Embassy told Miškov that eight firms which together employ 450 people have been cheated out of €4.2 million. The Austrian Embassy is now seeking to recover the money given to the fraudster.
The Economy Ministry stated that it does not demand any kind of administrative fee when a company receives state aid for a project.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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