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SaS calls for Kažimír’s resignation

The opposition party points to dubious transactions, but the involved parties reject any suspicions.

The River Park complex(Source: SME)

On October 18, the opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party called on Finance Minister Peter Kažimír to resign over shady transactions involving flats at the River Park complex built in Bratislava by J&T . The Finance Ministry and the Financial Administration however reject any suspicions.

The transactions linked to the River Park complex involve several companies, resembling those involved in the case of entrepreneur Ladislav Bašternák, who has been investigated for tax fraud, the TASR newswire reported.

In the Bašternák case, flats after construction were transferred several times via various companies and private individuals, with unjustified VAT allowances sought at the same time, said SaS MP Jozef Rajtár.

The River Park case was similar, Rajtár claimed, presenting the story of one particular flat. Twenty-five companies called KPRHT 1-25 were set up, most of them owned by Cypriot letterbox companies located at the same address. The aforementioned flat was subsequently transferred via various firms to end up with KPRHT 4, which is being managed by J&T co-owner Patrik Tkáč’s sister, said Rajtár, as reported by TASR.

SaS believes that such transactions between related companies do not have any commercial justification, so there is a suspicion that the scheme was introduced in order to acquire excessive VAT allowances. Moreover, it seems that such transfers were not isolated and that they could not have taken place without the knowledge of the Financial Administration. As a result, they call for Finance Minister Peter Kažimír’s resignation.

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J&T considers transactions in line with the law

Kažimír (Smer) is ready to hold accountable those responsible for any wrongdoing at his ministry, but this will take place only based on relevant evidence, said ministry’s spokesperson Alexandra Gogová in response to the accusations.

“The Financial Administration is an autonomous body that makes its own decisions, resulting in the fact that it's been achieving the best results since 2008,” said Gogová, as quoted by TASR, adding that if SaS has any suspicions of crime, it should turn to the police or the Financial Directorate.

The Financial Administration has responded by stating that it has clear rules and analytical tools for supervising entities working with VAT, a situation that has resulted in a significant reduction in VAT fraud, said its spokesperson Patrícia Macíková.

“[SaS MP] Jozef Rajtár, probably due to a lack of familiarity with the process of supervision, has accused the Financial Administration of covering up tax fraud,” Macíková added, as quoted by TASR.

Since VAT control reports were introduced in January 2014, the number of high-risk schemes has been reduced by 20 percent, while that of high-risk transactions has gone down by 25 percent. Meanwhile, the Financial Administration has carried out more than 52,000 tax inspections and has prevented the loss of more than €2 billion, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, J&T claimed that all transactions involving flats in River Park and other projects have taken place in line with the law and have been properly taxed.

“The state hasn’t lost a single cent, and we won’t have the least problem in proving this,” stated J&T, as quoted by TASR.

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