AFP: Highly-placed official likely to have profited from emission quota scandal

A highly-placed official at the Environment Ministry likely profited from the emission quota case, representatives of the Aliancia Fair Play (Fair-Play Alliance, AFP) announced on April 2, based on the findings of the Swiss Prosecutor's Office. The Swiss police have investigated the money laundering surrounding the emission quota scandal, with the criminal prosecution stopped both in Switzerland and Slovakia. “We’ve discovered that profits likely went to some highly-placed official at the Environment Ministry," AFP programme manager Pavol Lacko told the TASR newswire. He exchanged correspondence with the Swiss authorities. He added that the suspected public official worked at the ministry until 2009. According to Lacko, a credit note worth $3.8 million appeared in one of accounts at Swiss bank Credit Suisse in mid-August 2009 and the bank considered this operation suspicious, forwarding it to the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office. A person employed at Slovak Environment Office until 2009 made the claim of being the beneficiary of this account. “The Swiss refer to this individual as ‘secretary’, which is the most common name for state secretary, office head or some other highly senior official,” said Lacko, adding that Swiss authorities refused to identify the person. Furthermore, the same individual was involved with the account of a certain firm through which money from the emission quota case was transferred to other accounts. In late 2011, Credit Suisse informed the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office that it discovered another two accounts, one based in Belize and another in Cyprus where the former ministry official was also identified as the end beneficiary. AFP maintains that Switzerland provided all the critical bank documentation to Slovak authorities. “That means that our Prosecutor’s Office should also know the identity of the said senior official,” claims AFP programme director Zuzana Wienk. Because of this, she sent an open letter to Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, which inquires as to why the findings haven't been published, who is the aforementioned official and why was the Slovak criminal prosecution dropped. Swiss authorities requested evidence from their Slovak counterparts that would prove the money involved in the banking operations originated from criminal activities; otherwise the Swiss criminal prosecution over money laundering had to be stopped. “Swiss authorities received no such information. One of the reasons allegedly is that Slovak authorities were waiting for legal help from different states,” Lacko said. The controversial sale of Slovakia's surplus emission quota to US-based Interblue Group took place in 2008, under the first government of Robert Fico (2006-10). Back then, Slovakia sold 15 million tonnes at €5.05 per tonne, whereas neighbouring countries managed to clinch more favourable deals. Interblue Group subsequently sold emission quotas to Japan and made €47 million from the transaction, which was carried out under the remit of the Slovak National Party, a coalition partner in Fico’s first government.

A highly-placed official at the Environment Ministry likely profited from the emission quota case, representatives of the Aliancia Fair Play (Fair-Play Alliance, AFP) announced on April 2, based on the findings of the Swiss Prosecutor's Office. The Swiss police have investigated the money laundering surrounding the emission quota scandal, with the criminal prosecution stopped both in Switzerland and Slovakia.

“We’ve discovered that profits likely went to some highly-placed official at the Environment Ministry," AFP programme manager Pavol Lacko told the TASR newswire. He exchanged correspondence with the Swiss authorities. He added that the suspected public official worked at the ministry until 2009. According to Lacko, a credit note worth $3.8 million appeared in one of accounts at Swiss bank Credit Suisse in mid-August 2009 and the bank considered this operation suspicious, forwarding it to the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office. A person employed at Slovak Environment Office until 2009 made the claim of being the beneficiary of this account.

“The Swiss refer to this individual as ‘secretary’, which is the most common name for state secretary, office head or some other highly senior official,” said Lacko, adding that Swiss authorities refused to identify the person.

Furthermore, the same individual was involved with the account of a certain firm through which money from the emission quota case was transferred to other accounts. In late 2011, Credit Suisse informed the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office that it discovered another two accounts, one based in Belize and another in Cyprus where the former ministry official was also identified as the end beneficiary.

AFP maintains that Switzerland provided all the critical bank documentation to Slovak authorities. “That means that our Prosecutor’s Office should also know the identity of the said senior official,” claims AFP programme director Zuzana Wienk. Because of this, she sent an open letter to Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, which inquires as to why the findings haven't been published, who is the aforementioned official and why was the Slovak criminal prosecution dropped.

Swiss authorities requested evidence from their Slovak counterparts that would prove the money involved in the banking operations originated from criminal activities; otherwise the Swiss criminal prosecution over money laundering had to be stopped. “Swiss authorities received no such information. One of the reasons allegedly is that Slovak authorities were waiting for legal help from different states,” Lacko said.

The controversial sale of Slovakia's surplus emission quota to US-based Interblue Group took place in 2008, under the first government of Robert Fico (2006-10). Back then, Slovakia sold 15 million tonnes at €5.05 per tonne, whereas neighbouring countries managed to clinch more favourable deals. Interblue Group subsequently sold emission quotas to Japan and made €47 million from the transaction, which was carried out under the remit of the Slovak National Party, a coalition partner in Fico’s first government.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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