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Matovič files criminal complaint against activists

Opposition OĽaNO-NOVA party leader Igor Matovič is filing a criminal complaint against former Gorilla protest organisers Alena Krempaská and Peter Weisenbacher of the Human Rights Institute (IĽP) over repeated slander and a smear campaign.

Igor Matovič in parliament.(Source: TASR)

Matovič’s opposition Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) operates more like a family firm than a political party, Krempaská and Weisenbacher of the IĽP claimed at a press conference on October 26. According to the activists, OĽaNO’ s internet domain is not owned by OĽaNO but by a firm owned by Matovič’s wife. The party is made up of only four members, and it is not clear where state money, paid in political party contributions, goes.

Matovič has owned the Ordinary People trademark since 2008, and it is unclear whether the politician owns it as an individual or as an entrepreneur. “If he owns it as a “živnostník” (i.e. self-employed or trading licence holder), following consultations with lawyers we’re confident in saying that he needs to grant consent to the political party in order for it to use his trademark,” Weisenbacher said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “If he grants consent, he needs either to invoice the party – and in such a case he’s illegally running a business and evidently lying about it – or do it free of charge, but then the political party needs to declare this as a non-financial gift,” he said, adding that the party has no such item in its annual report.

The activists also pointed out that Matovič promised to bolster the number of OĽaNO members in 2015 but has failed to do so. The party boasts only four members, one of whom – Jozef Viskupič – is actually Matovič’s cousin. Weisenbacher and Krempaská claimed that the party has no statutes on its website, there is no membership application form and the manner in which it handles state contributions is dubious.

“We consider it important for the law to prevent such a state of affairs because we don’t know how these financial resources are governed,” Weisenbacher said. “We believe that it's safe to assume that they flow mainly to the family firms of Mr. Matovič and his relatives.”

The OĽaNO chair also attempted to sell his employee a bill of exchange from J&T Private Equity BV, allegedly purchased at €10 million, Weisenbacher claimed. “On one hand, he combats such practices and people, while on the other hand, he does business with them. By the way – it’s a letterbox company,” he added.

MP's reaction

Matovič stated that the www.obycajniludia.sk web domain is owned by Matovič family firm regionPRESS, s.r.o., and the webhosting charge – equalling some €15 annually – is forwarded to the party in invoices. “I own the trademark Ordinary People as a private person and feel no need to charge our party for it in any way, shape or form,” said the OĽaNO chair.

As for accusations that he attempted to sell his employee a bill of exchange from J&T Private Equity BV, allegedly purchased at €10 million, Matovič responded that he has never owned any bill of exchange concerning that firm and so could not have ever attempted to sell it. “Ever since OĽaNO-NOVA first made it into parliament in 2012, all issues regarding party finances have been decided by all lawmakers of the party caucus by way of voting,” the party caucus chair said.

“Our party hasn’t spent a single euro of the state contribution received for 2016," Richard Vašečka told TASR, while also adding that the use to which finances are allocated is regularly supervised by a state-appointed auditor, the parliamentary finance and budget committee and the Finance Ministry.

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