President Andrej Kiska owns land in Veľký Slavkov (Prešov Region), which he received in a fraudulent manner. He knows about it and does not want to return the plot to its original owner, according to Jaroslav Paška, MP and deputy chair of the Slovak National Party (SNS).
It is another scandal connected to the president, after several media outlets received an anonymous letter informing them about illegal VAT refunds claimed by Kiska’s company KTAG.
Kiska, however, claims there was no fraud involved in his purchase of the plot, the Sme daily reported.
He considers it a discrediting campaign against him that is part of the campaign before the March 2019 presidential election.
The daily has a sale contract
Veľký Slavkov was widely covered by the media during the rule of the first Robert Fico government. The nominee of the coalition party Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) in the Slovak Land Fund, Branislav Bríza, ordered the agreements based on which people from southern Slovakia received lucrative plots in the village thanks to restitutions. They, however, subsequently had to very cheaply sell them to people close to HZDS.
The scandal cost then-agriculture minister Miroslav Jureňa (also HZDS) his function, Sme wrote.
Paška spoke with the private news channel TA3 about “a certain constitutional official who is not a member of the ruling coalition”, who illegally acquired a plot in Veľký Slavkov. The only such person is Kiska, Sme wrote.
According to the purchase contract provided to Sme, Kiska bought the plot from Július Širocký from Lučivná in 1999 for 54,270 Slovak crowns (some €1,800).
“I told myself that the area may be interesting in the future as it lies on the way to the Tatras,” the president said in an interview with Sme.
He added that at the time of the purchase he did not know about any fraud linked to the plot.
“About two years ago I was contacted by a person who sent me a letter,” Kiska continued. “He wrote that the person I purchased the plot from had acquired it in a fraudulent manner.”
The sender wanted the president to return the plot for free and ask for potential damage from the seller. The president answered that this should be decided by a court.
Lobbying for family
Paška meanwhile admitted for Sme that by pointing to the case he only wanted to help his relative, dentist Ján Franc from Poprad. The relative told Paška he has a problem with the plot and cannot solve it.
Paška did not say Kiska committed fraud, but only that he had bought the land in a fraudulent manner, Paška told Sme.
The MP explained he did not want to talk about the issue at a meeting with the president as he wanted to avoid any suspicions of nepotism. He reportedly chose television to point to the fact that an ordinary person does not enjoy the same protection as a constitutional official. Paška referred to the fact that Franc has turned twice to the prosecutor’s office, but has dismissed his motion.