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SaS submits criminal complaint over Grandwood stimuli

The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party has filed a criminal complaint over the investment stimuli granted to Košice-based company Grandwood. The members of the party claim that the investor submitted incorrect and incomplete information about its previous activities, as well as incorrect references and inaccurate information about its main suppliers, the SITA newswire reported on May 3.

The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party has filed a criminal complaint over the investment stimuli granted to Košice-based company Grandwood. The members of the party claim that the investor submitted incorrect and incomplete information about its previous activities, as well as incorrect references and inaccurate information about its main suppliers, the SITA newswire reported on May 3.

Grandwood planned to build a wood processing plant for more than €42 million, and create 390 work positions in the Ferovo in Vranov nad Topľou industrial park. The government agreed to allocate €1 million for constructing the halls, machines and equipment, €3.9 million for creating new jobs and another €16.4 million in form of tax relief, which will be drawn by 2023, SITA wrote.

According to the official request for state aid, Grandwood stated that it belongs to the Turkish business group Yesim Textil, which, according to the published information, is not true. Grandwood later stated it had made a mistake.

Another inaccuracy pertains to the information about the production of the new plant. The company stated that it will focus on production of plasticised wooden boards used for shipbuilding. It also listed three main customers for its products, one of which, Swiss company Hoffman Generalvertretungen, went bankrupt back in 1998, while Polish Metalchem focuses on production of machines for the chemical industry. The only company representing the shipbuilding sector is Turkish Taskinlar Gemi Sanayi. Yet, it is owned by the father-in-law of the Turkish authorised representative of Grandwood, which does not produce anything at the moment, said Ľubomír Galko (SaS), one of the people who submitted the complaint.

“It is a surprise for me that after publishing the facts about the expected suppliers, the advisors of the Economy Ministry, who deal with investment stimuli, did not stop the submission of this material to the governmental session,” said former head of the strategic investment department at the ministry, Miroslav Ivan, as quoted by SITA.

Also the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) criticised the stimulus, saying that “the lack of experience with industrial production and managing big business projects might increase the risk that the project will be unsuccessful”, SITA wrote.

Chair of SaS Richard Sulík said that the one directly responsible for such state is Prime Minister Robert Fico.

The Economy Ministry responded that before a company receives state aid, it has to invest the financial resources claimed in the request, create the planned number of new jobs, earn a profit and fulfil other conditions included in the decision approving the allocation of state money. This prevents Slovakia from providing state money to a firm if it does not fulfil the necessary terms, said ministry spokesperson Stanislav Jurikovič, as quoted by SITA.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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