Did Kočner do the deed?

Special Prosecutor scrutinises possible €8 million tax fraud. Opposition labels controversial tycoon, Marián Kočner, “a protected animal”.

Marián KočnerMarián Kočner (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik has decided to look into the case of dubious VAT refunds claimed by tycoon Marián Kočner, who appeared in the so-called mafia lists. The investigation was halted by the police this February.

“Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik issued an order today requesting the investigation file in order to check the actions of the investigator and the supervising prosecutor,” spokesperson for the Special Prosecutor’s Office, Jana Tökölyová, told the Denník N daily on June 14.

Kováčik’s decision was awaited by the General Prosecutor’s Office which can only investigate the case after the special prosecutor has examined the details.

Meanwhile, the Financial Administration claimed that it will check the dubious VAT refunds that pertain to the suspicious transfer of two hotels in Donovaly (Banská Bystrica Region) from the years 2010-2012, said Finance Minister Peter Kažimír.

The Financial Administration paid Kočner €8 million through VAT refunds. The outcome of the tax controls was in the businessman’s favour.

Read also:General prosecutor may look into case against controversial businessman Read more 

Politicians respond

The police started investigating the dubious transfers last year but closed the scrutiny, saying that the deed has not happened.

“We have here criminal prosecution bodies that carry out independent investigations,” Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer) told Denník N, adding that since it is supervised by the prosecutor’s office, that institution should be the one questioned.

The interior minister also said that the case comes from the times when Slovakia was ruled by the Iveta Radičová government. In this respect, he pointed to the consultations between Richard Sulík, whose Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) was a ruling party at the time, and Kočner.

Culture Minister Marek Maďarič (Smer) said that the recent information indicates that the General Prosecutor’s Office should look into the case, while the Financial Administration should scrutinise the tax controls.

Several ministers did not comment on the case, saying it is not part of their agenda, Denník N wrote.

Opposition: Kočner is a protected animal

MPs for the opposition parties meanwhile organised a press conference on June 14, at which they called Kočner “a protected animal” in Slovakia.

“Marián Kočner obviously has his own, personal investigators and prosecutors,” said Jozef Rajtár of SaS, as quoted by Denník N.

Veronika Remišová of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO-NOVA) claimed that all the political scandals that occurred during the governments led by Robert Fico, in which Kaliňák always served as the interior minister, ended with the claim that the deed has not happened.

“€8 million disappeared and nobody is responsible,” Rajtár said, as quoted by Denník N. “Marián Kočner only recycled what he knew from the 1990s and added the most up-to-date methods of VAT fraud.”

With this claim, he referred to Kočner's involvement in scandals like Technopol, Gamatex or Glance House.

The opposition also pointed to several discrepancies in the claims of the investigator in the resolution to stop the investigation into Kočner’s case.

It also called for the creation of parliamentary investigation committees that would help to investigate similar scandals, Denník N wrote.

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