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New economy minister admits he is renting his house to Penta tycoon

The newly appointed economy minister, Tomáš Malatinský, has admitted that he has been renting a house in Záhorská Bystrica, an upmarket suburb of Bratislava, to Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group, for several years. The rental contract reportedly has two pages and is very simple, the SITA newswire reported.

The newly appointed economy minister, Tomáš Malatinský, has admitted that he has been renting a house in Záhorská Bystrica, an upmarket suburb of Bratislava, to Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group, for several years. The rental contract reportedly has two pages and is very simple, the SITA newswire reported.

“The rent represents €4,000 [per month],” Malatinský told a press conference held on April 10, adding that the contract was signed immediately after construction of the house was completed, in 2005 or 2006.

The new economy minister said that he had telephoned Haščák, whose name features heavily in the so-called Gorilla file, an unverified intelligence file purporting to describe high-level political corruption in 2005-6 which has caused political turmoil since the beginning of the year, to ask him for permission to talk about the lease. Malatinský said he did not see the relationship as a problem, as he has been renting the house to Haščák for several years.

Malatinský also stated that he does not plan to terminate the contract, adding that Penta will not influence his work.

“I do not intend to annul that contract because I think that it is advantageous for me and I do not think that I would sell, let’s say, Bratislava Castle to Mr Haščák because he has a contract with me,” he said, as quoted by SITA.

He also added that he is not in regular contact with Haščák or other Penta representatives.

“I have been connected to Penta via our common activities in Elektrovod, which I co-owned for two years while Penta was among its shareholders,” he explained, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that their business cooperation ended in 2003.

Malatinský made the statement about the rental contract only after the Sme daily reported on April 7 that he knows Haščák personally and owns an unfinished house in a luxury residential complex in Bratislava where a number of Penta officials also live.

Source: SITA, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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