AN AMERICAN company, EuroGas, has announced plans to sue the Slovak government for damages of $1.65 billion in a dispute involving rights to extract talc from a mine in Gemerská Polomka that dates back to 2004, when Pavol Rusko served as the economy minister in the second government of Mikuláš Dzurinda, the TASR newswire reported.
The firm’s board of directors passed two decisions to seek arbitration to resolve its claims against the government’s actions in 2004. Wolfgang Rauball, the company’s board chairman, told TASR that if Slovakia does not respond to the request for arbitration EuroGas is prepared to file a lawsuit with international courts.
EuroGas GmbH Austria, a wholly-owned subsidiary of US firm EuroGas, claims that the Slovak Mining Office in Spišská Nová Ves unlawfully deprived the company of its mining rights at the talc mine in Gemerská Polomka, one of the largest and purest talc deposits in the world, and instead gave the mining rights to a small domestic accounting company. Slovakia’s Supreme Court confirmed in May 2011 that the Slovak Mining Office had made an error in its decision.
EuroGas representatives have alleged that the action taken in 2004 was a clear case of money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, TASR reported.