US-based company EuroGas is suing Slovakia over access to a talc mine in a case which goes back to the era of Pavol Rusko's tenure as economy minister in 2003-05. The firm is demanding a total of $1.65 billion (€1.25 billion) in compensation for damages, EuroGas board of directors chairman Wolfgang Rauball said on Thursday, April 26, as reported by the TASR newswire.
Two lawsuits are due to be filed by the EuroGas group. "Through our group [EuroGas group], two notes of intent to initiate arbitration against the Slovak Republic have been issued. EuroGas GmbH Austria, based in Vienna, informed the Slovak president on December 16, 2010, of its intention to file a lawsuit against the Slovak Republic, demanding €500 million; and EuroGas Inc., a U.S. joint-stock company based in New York, NY, informed the Slovak president on November 3, 2011, that EuroGas is planning another lawsuit on its own behalf to seek compensation for damages equalling $1 billion [€760 million]," Rauball said.
EuroGas GmbH is an Austrian company 100-percent owned by EuroGas Inc. EuroGas GmbH owns 33 percent and EuroGas Inc. 57 percent of a Slovak mining company called Rozmin s.r.o., which legally owned mining rights to a talc mine in Gemerská Poloma until the end of 2004. "That is, until the Slovak Mining Office in Spišská Nová Ves illegally stripped our company, Rozmin, s.r.o., of mining rights to Gemerská Poloma at the end of 2004 and bestowed them – in our opinion under collusive and unequivocally mysterious circumstances – on a small mini-accounting company called Economy Agency. Gemerská Poloma is one of the largest and purest talc deposits in the world, with an estimated value of several billion euros, according to independent assessments by Slovak and international geologists," added Rauball.
EuroGas Inc. and EuroGas GmbH have already authorised their lawyers to file compensation lawsuits immediately unless Slovakia reacts by May 3 - the six-month deadline set by law. The company claims that when the Slovak Mining Office took away its mining rights to exploit the Gemerská Poloma deposit in December 2004, company representatives were summoned to a meeting with Rusko and ordered by him to terminate all activities at the mine at once and vacate it within a week. Rusko allegedly also made threats that if the company refused to comply, it would have no economic future in Slovakia.
Rusko has defended himself against the accusations. "The Mining Office made a decision, so ... I didn't need to impose any pressure on them [EuroGas] – and, of course, I didn't do so. I view it as absolute impudence and mudslinging to annoy the public with this after eight years," said Rusko.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
27. Apr 2012 at 10:00