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Denník N: Third most profitable firm is a shell company

AMONG THE shady practices of firms with dubious background, the shell company Territorio stands out, according to the Denník N daily, in a story published on February 17.

(Source: SME)

The company based in Bratislava’s Old Town did not have any revenue in 2014 and appears to have no real office or phone number; but it nonetheless achieved a profit of €300 million in that year, making it the third most profitable company in Slovakia. Dozens of companies are registered at the company’s address on Boženy Nemcovej Street in Bratislava’s Old Town. Apart from Territorio, they include Office House, which specialises in the sale of virtual addresses.

According to database finstat.sk, only gas companies SPP Infrastructure and Eustream managed to surpass Territorio in 2014, with profits of €813 million and €334 million respectively, the TASR newswire advised. Other companies, including carmakers, banks and phone operators, ranked below it.

Territorio operates only fictitiously, according to Denník N. It does not really carry out any business activities. Its owner merely transfers money into it, claiming that this has been taxed abroad. Territorio was set up in 2012, but did not have any revenue. In its first year, it spent €6,000 and ended up with the same level of loss. However, it ended 2013 with a profit of €56 million, before earning €300 million the following year. The company's statement of finances for 2015 has not yet been published.

Territorio is allegedly not owned by a Slovak citizen. “The company is part of a holding structure owned by a significant Russian financial and business group,” said Tomáš Chrobák of Office House’s sister Czech company in Prague. However, Chrobák is not authorised to say who the owner is or how Territorio earned the €300 million.

Denník N tried to investigate the company and concluded that Territrio’s owner is concealed . It is officially owned by the Cyprus-based Tomkins Holdings Limited. Cyprus’ business register has no record of an owner, as Cyprus guarantees anonymity to entrepreneurs. In the Slovak business register, the owner is stated as its legal representative Martin Benedikovič, aged 33, from Nitra. When his mother was approached by Denník N, she claimed that he was living in Cyprus, and is currently unemployed, having previously worked in a restaurant.

Benedikovič’s predecessor in the position of legal representative, Richard Tóth of Košice, connects (as does Benedikovič) Territorio with another widely publicized company that won a questionable tender – as a single bidder- for operating the Danube ferry, Ponton City and its co-owner, Business Investments LLC.  

Read also:Police investigate ferry tender scandal

 

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Topic: Corruption & scandals


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