Denník N wins dispute over Penta

The lawyer of the financial group does not know whether they will appeal the verdict.

(Source: Sme)

The Denník N daily does not have to apologise to the financial group Penta for the opinion piece “What is it worth for Penta to own a small health insurer?” written by Konštantín Čikovský.

This stems from the ruling issued by the district court in Bratislava. Penta now has 15 days to appeal, but its lawyer did not say whether they will do so, Denník N wrote.

The financial group demanded that the daily correct three statements, claiming that the story contains untrue facts. It, for example, complained about the sentence: “Though [oligarch Juraj] Široký and other acquaintances of [Prime Minister] Robert Fico owned half of shares of [health insurer] Dôvera and together with Penta they took at least €400 million outside the official profit from it, they did not have an influence on company’s management.”

It also disliked the claim that it has a place where to hide its profits – for example by pouring them into its medical facilities.

The dispute started in November 2015. Penta originally wanted the court to deal with the case without witnesses, but the court insisted on inviting Eduard Maták of the financial group and also Široký. In their testimony, which took place in April, they both rejected owning any shares in Dôvera, Denník N wrote.

The judge thus decided that the statements in the story are not statements of facts, but only opinion. As a result, the daily does not have to publish any correction. There is one statement which may be considered a statement of fact, but they do not concern the complainant.

Penta demanded the correction only from Denník N, though also other media outlets have written dozens of stories about Široký and his links to Dôvera via Cypriot firm Prefto. The most stories were published by the Sme daily, where Penta currently has shares via the SITA newswire and company NAMAV, Denník N reported.

Disclaimer: Penta financial group also has a 45-percent share in Petit Press, the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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