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More mudslinging in presidential race

ONE WEEK before the March 29 second round presidential run-off Prime Minister Robert Fico has launched a new series of allegations about his opponent, philanthropist and businessman Andrej Kiska, this time detailing fines issued on companies Kiska formerly led. Kiska replied with allegations of his own, saying Fico loyalists are offering bribes to Kiska-associates in an attempt to dig up dirt.

ONE WEEK before the March 29 second round presidential run-off Prime Minister Robert Fico has launched a new series of allegations about his opponent, philanthropist and businessman Andrej Kiska, this time detailing fines issued on companies Kiska formerly led. Kiska replied with allegations of his own, saying Fico loyalists are offering bribes to Kiska-associates in an attempt to dig up dirt.

During a March 20 press conference Fico spoke about fines imposed by the Slovak Trade Inspection (SOI) on firms Kiska previously owned in an attempt to claim Kiska sought to exploit poor people, the Sme daily reported.

At the same time, Kiska claimed that some of his employees were allegedly offered bribe to tell anything that could discredit him. Fico explained that firms either owned by Kiska or with Kiska on their managerial boards first received fines of 880,000 Slovak crowns (approximately €29,210) and later another series of fines worth €150,000 for the unfair treatment of customers, the TASR newswire reported.

The PM denied allegations that he has misused state bodies in an attempt to find out compromising information on Kiska, claiming that he appealed to the SOI via a public information request. He at the same time denied any connection with his Smer party and organisers of the campaign against Kiska, TASR wrote.

Kiska meanwhile told the press of alleged bribes of between €3,000-€10,000 to former employees in an attempt to obtain discrediting information. A bribe at €10,000 was allegedly offered also to people abroad in exchange for false testimony.

When asked to say whether the bribes were offered by people from the Smer party or someone close to Fico, Kiska said that “these people have confirmed to me that the people who offered them the bribes were representatives of the ruling party”, as reported by TASR.

Kiska also said that yet another attempt to discredit him that is being prepared and is related to his first marriage is unfounded.

“From what can be gathered, it is clear that there is huge machinery working in an attempt to discredit me,” Kiska said, as quoted by TASR. “It is horrible and unacceptable, and it means that our state and its politics are in a much worse condition and that the abuse of power has taken on too dangerous proportions.”

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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