THE SLOVAK police confirmed on January 13 that they received information from the Swiss police on copies of bank statements and transfer orders of the company Interblue Group, which earned about €47 million in profits in 2008 from selling excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas purchased from Slovakia.
Prime Minister Robert Fico has promised to publish the information about the case, the Sme daily reported.
The case began in 2008 when the state sold its excess CO2 emissions quotas to a small, unknown firm then operating out of a US garage called Interblue Group, at €5.05 per ton, a price significantly lower than the market value. The police estimated the damages suffered by the state at about €66 million.
The deal resulted in the dismissal of at least two ministers nominated by the Slovak National Party (SNS), as well as the SNS eventually losing political control of the ministry. The firm was subsequently dissolved and was reported to have been re-established as Interblue Group Europe, registered in Switzerland.
Slovak police asked for the files as part of their investigation into alleged money laundering that purportedly accompanied the emissions trade. The results of the investigation were unclear. The police stated that because selling the emissions for such a low price was not a crime, the people behind Interblue had no reason to launder the money, Sme wrote.
The police closed their investigation in October 2013, saying they did not find sufficient evidence proving that the sale of the emissions was disadvantageous for the country.
While the police’s statements seem to indicate that they received the documents only recently, the Swiss prosecutor’s office claimed to have sent the files pertaining to the alleged money laundering two years ago. Moreover, four years ago, the police received information on who might have been behind Interblue Group.
At the time, one Swiss bank reported dubious transfers on Interblue’s accounts to the local financial police and blocked the money for several days. The Swiss police subsequently asked their Slovak counterpart for any information regarding people connected to the company, Sme wrote.
Meanwhile Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Ľubomír Galko and civic presidential candidate Andrej Kiska have demanded that the documents are confirmed and published.
“[I want Fico] to confirm or deny that no member of the governing Smer party, their family members or individuals from business circles linked to the party are on that list; furthermore, that no other politically or socially active individuals are there, either,” Kiska said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Kiska also said that Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák should publicly declare what they plan to do with the list. According to him, people are growing frustrated over seeing major corruption scandals constantly swept under the carpet. Kiska maintains that, if elected, he would never allow such a thing to happen.
Though Fico said during the political talk show broadcast by the Slovak Radio (SRo) on January 11 that they will publish any information concerning the case, the Government Office did not respond to questions sent by Sme. Even Kaliňák did not say when or even whether he will publish the files.
Source: Sme, TASR
For more information about this story please see: Swiss leave Interblue emissions investigation to Slovakia
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
14. Jan 2014 at 14:00