Committee to deal with excessive VAT refunds case

The police meanwhile started prosecution against businessman Ladislav Bašternák, who rents Prime Minister Robert Fico his flat.

The Bonaparte residential houseThe Bonaparte residential house (Source: SME)

An extraordinary session of the parliamentary finance and budget committee is set to discuss the case of excessive VAT refunds granted to Bašternák, based on a proposal submitted by Jozef Rajtár of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS). He wants Finance Minister Peter Kažimír and Financial Administration chairman František Imrecze to explain the whole situation.

Chairman of the committee Ladislav Kamenický (Smer) is obliged to summon the session within seven days given that the proposal has the signatures of 30 MPs, the TASR newswire reported.

The suspicions against Bašternák, who owns a Bonaparte complex where Fico has a flat, concern the purchase and sale of seven apartments in the Five Star Residence complex built by tycoon Marián Kočner. Bašternák reportedly bought them for €12 million. The company BL 202 then applied for a VAT refund of €2 million and the state paid it out despite the suspicions that the transaction was fictitious. The state later paid an additional €6 million in VAT refunds and saw no reason to verify them.

“This company must have bought property worth tens of millions of euros,” Rajtár said, as quoted by TASR. “Nonetheless, despite having so much property, the company was inactive the following year.”

The MP also wondered how this fact obviously did not appear suspicious to the Financial Administration, as reported by TASR.

The Financial Administration refuted such statements, saying they are deceitful.

“The Financial Administration acts thoroughly and in line with legislation in every tax case,” said its spokesperson Patrícia Macíková, as quoted by TASR. “Nevertheless, we can’t provide any specific information here due to tax secrecy.”

The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) meanwhile launched prosecution against Bašternák, one month after the Denník N daily and the Trend weekly reported about the details of how the police hushed up Bašternák’s investigation.

NAKA investigator had scrutinised the case for eight months and despite serious suspicions did not start an investigation. However, the situation has changed now. Denník N wrote that it received information on April 13 that NAKA launched an investigation in the case concerning the excessive VAT refund of €2 million.

The official reason for restoring the investigation is that the police now have documents they did not have at their disposal before. The documents were delivered by Denník N.

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