Documents outlining the terms of the state’s purchase of the remaining shares in the mother company of the gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) were drafted by J&T financial group, MP Daniel Lipšic (New Majority – Agreement/NOVA party) said September 11. The acquisition was approved by the government earlier this month.
“Therefore, we immediately call upon (Prime Minister) Robert Fico to stop this transaction, as it can be proven that all the documents were drafted by the financial group J&T,” Lipšic said at a press conference, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He also urged Fico to dismiss Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský and plans to discuss future course of action with chairmen of the five opposition parties (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ, Christian-Democratic Movement-KDH, Most-Híd, Ordinary people and Independent Personalities-OĽaNO, and Freedom and Solidarity-SaS).
“Furthermore, I’m considering filing criminal complaints over the suspicion of grave economic crimes as well as the convening of two extraordinary parliamentary committee sessions (of the economy- as well as defence and security committees),” Lipšic said.
The electronic document on SPP, approved September 4 by the government, features the name of the J & T Investment Advisors company in its ‘file properties’ [supporting information that e-files have automatically attached]. “Based on this document, it seems that the key material of economic character was created on the computers of J & T Investment Advisors,” said Marcel Klimk of the extra-parliamentary NOVA party, led by Lipšic.
J&T Investment Advisors is a company that no longer exists, since it has become – under the name EP Investment Advisors – a part of the Energetický a Prúmyslový Holding (EPH), a company owned by Petr Kellner, J & T and Daniel Křetínský, the Sme daily wrote.
EPH is a relatively new minority SPP shareholder that is set to give up the remaining 49 percent of the SPP mother company to Slovakia in a debt-equity swap.
It's not only Malatinský but also Fico who should bear responsibility for the SPP scandal, members of the opposition argued during parliamentary debate September 11. MP Helena Mezenská of OĽaNO) plans to collect the necessary 30 MP signatures to initiate a no-confidence vote in Fico and, in effect, the government as a whole.
“This case is being blown out of proportion,” Malatinský said his stance on SPP, as quoted by TASR. He added that the ministry co-operated with the SPP’s Czech stakeholder when drafting the material on company’s restructuring. “They provided us with a lot of material,” he said. The government material was drafted by the Economy Ministry in co-operation with an advisory company, Wood & Company, Malatinský added. “We only used the documentation sent to us by the investor and co-owner of SPP,” said the minister. “This case, presented by MP Lipšic today, is nothing but a political tempest in a teapot.”
Lipšic’s allegations were rejected also by the financial group itself. “J & T hasn't prepared any government material, hasn’t participated in its preparation and has no influence over it. Mr. Lipšic just got carried away,” said J & T Bank spokeswoman Linda Gáliková for TASR. “We perceive the accusations of Mr. Lipšic to be dishonest, unfair," said EPH spokesman Daniel Častvaj.
An expert explained for Sme how the company name J&T Investment Advisors might have occurred in the document: ministry officials got the document elaborated elsewhere and worked with it elsewhere, without deleting the characteristics and signs made earlier. The name of the company is automatically added into the documents according to how it was set during the process of activating the license of Microsoft Office software office package.
Minister Malatinský also gave this argument to Sme. The disputed document was made within a single day and it includes 17 changes made in less than an hour.
(Source: 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.
12. Sep 2013 at 10:00