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Ministry: Tourist board paid €570,000 for Olympic House illegally

The Slovak Tourist Board (SACR) under the management of its former head Peter Belinský, who is now a vice-chair of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) opposition party, violated the law when renting the so-called Slovak Olympic House in London, an inspection carried out at SACR by the Transport Ministry has alleged.

The Slovak Tourist Board (SACR) under the management of its former head Peter Belinský, who is now a vice-chair of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) opposition party, violated the law when renting the so-called Slovak Olympic House in London, an inspection carried out at SACR by the Transport Ministry has alleged.

Ministry of Transport spokesman Martin Kóňa said on Wednesday, September 19, that the ministry inspection, linked to Slovakia's representation at the 2012 London Olympic Games, was finalised a few days ago and the most serious violation involved spending of almost €570,000, the TASR newswire reported.

"The agreement between SACR and JT Consultancy Ltd., which mediated rental of the Slovak Olympic House, wasn't published in the Central Contract Registry as is required by Slovak legislation, so it is invalid," said Kóňa. In addition, the law stipulates that if rental is contracted directly and without a tender, it can only be arranged directly with the owner of the real estate. If the contract is signed via a mediator, which was the case with the Slovak Olympic House, a tender has to be carried out. According to the spokesman, the matter was submitted to the relevant investigative bodies on suspicion of misconduct.

The Sme daily reported on Tuesday that the Slovak Olympic House, which was located at the prestigious Institute of Directors in the centre of London, had racked up hundreds of thousands of euros’ worth of debt, which remains unpaid.

In reaction to the reports, Belinský told TASR that he was not disowning responsibility for the failure, but that he endeavoured to set things right while still heading the agency. "As soon as we found out that a specific person – a SACR lawyer – had made a mistake, we began to come to grips with the situation. There was a two- or three-day delay in going public with the contract. The new ministry leadership had all the information to hand upon taking up their posts [following the general election in March]," said Belinský.

Sources: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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