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Emissions sale reportedly not enough for police to charge Interblue Group

THOUGH officials from three European countries confirmed for the Slovak police that Slovakia sold excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas to the Interblue Group company for a disadvantageous price in 2008, the investigation of the case was halted, with no convictions or punishments, according to a police document that the Sme daily obtained based on the law on free access to information.

THOUGH officials from three European countries confirmed for the Slovak police that Slovakia sold excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas to the Interblue Group company for a disadvantageous price in 2008, the investigation of the case was halted, with no convictions or punishments, according to a police document that the Sme daily obtained based on the law on free access to information.

Experts addressed by Sme opine that the police should have at least tried to get the case into court.

The murky contract masterminded by the Environment Ministry in 2008 when it was run by a nominee of the Slovak National Party (SNS), then in coalition with Robert Fico's Smer party and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), involved Slovakia selling quotas to emit 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to Interblue at €5.05 per tonne.

Belgium, the Czech Republic and Hungary sold their emission quotas for twice the Slovak price at that time, the document reads. The investigation also showed that then environment minister Ján Chrbet (SNS) prepared the contract in a non-standard way: the relevant officials did not get to see it and saw only a copy of the emission quotas transfer about one month after signing the contract with Interblue Group.

The document also showed that Chrbet lied to the cabinet in October 2008 when he said that Slovakia would lose its free emission quotas if it did not sell them by the end of the year. The investigator proved that the Kyoto Protocol stipulates that the unused quotas can be moved to the following term and sold later, Sme wrote.

The investigation also showed that two people were responsible for the shady deal. Though the police have not revealed their names, it has been speculated that one of them might be Chrbet, as reported by Sme.

The document also contains information on how Japan bought the emissions quotas from Interblue Group for €8.2 per tonne. It however does not reveal the background of the shady deal and where the money ended up, Sme wrote.

The emissions deal resulted in the dismissal of at least two ministers, as well as the SNS eventually losing political control of the ministry. The murky US-based firm was meanwhile dissolved and re-established as Interblue Group Europe, registered in Switzerland.

Police shelved their investigation into the infamous Interblue Group case in October 2013. Police spokesperson Andrea Dobiášová confirmed for The Slovak Spectator at the time that the investigator of the National Criminal Agency halted the investigation, arguing that “the act [related to Interblue] is not a crime” and thus there is no reason to continue.

Source: Sme

For more information about this story please see: Police halt inquiry into hazy emissions deal

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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