€540,000 transaction between Vadala and Trošková raises suspicions

The bank connected to the former prime minister’s assistant had an account with a company investigated for VAT skulduggery.

Outgoing PM Fico with Mária Trošková in Brussels, September 2015. Outgoing PM Fico with Mária Trošková in Brussels, September 2015. (Source: SITA/AP)

Investigative journalists joined forces to investigate the cases of the late Ján Kuciak, reporter of the Aktuality.sk website. Journalists from Aktuality.sk, the Sme, Denník N, Hospodárske noviny, and Nový Čas dailies, the Trend weekly, the Postoj website, the public-service RTVS as well as the private Markíza and Joj TV broadcasters and the Swiss Blic, the Polish Onet, the Czech public radio Český Rozhlas and the German Die Welt joined the project. The story on unusual transaction involving Mária Trošková was brought by Trend and Postoj.sk.

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Mária Trošková assisted in unusual transfers and withdrawals of cash worth €540,000 on the account of the AV-Real of Antonino Vadala which was involved in the alleged trick with value-added tax (VAT), the Trend weekly and Postoj website reported. They draw on the documents which look like reports on unusual operations according to the law on money laundering, which Sme had a chance to check.

Read also: Italian businessman Vadala taken into pre-trial detention Read more 

The documents do not have a police heading and their pagination does not correspond with normal archiving of the police finance intelligence unit. This does not rule out that they come from secret services or financial administration, which paginate and elaborate such reports in a different way than police.

Until recently, Trošková assisted Prime Minister Robert Fico, accompanying him at low-key diplomatic talks, e.g. with German Chancellor Angelou Merkel. She left The Government Office after the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak.

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Intimate relation

In Kuciak’s last, unfinished story, he describes the relation between Vadala with the Italian mafia ’Ndrangheta. Vadala responded to accusations by saying he is not a gang member and that journalists mistook him for his namesake. Currently, he is in custody, waiting for extradition to Italy where he is prosecuted for drug smuggling and laundering money for ’Ndrangheta.

For now, there is no clear evidence that bank transfers and the withdrawals of Trošková were connected with laundering of money for smuggled cocaine. Transactions in which she is mentioned were detected by the bank in September 2011. Italian detectives started investigating Vadala for narcotics in 2015.

Read also: Last Week in Slovakia: Vadala arrested for drugs, political crisis continues Read more 

If a bank reports a transaction with police as unusual, it does not necessarily mean that it is illegal. Police analysts evaluate each report, and only decide based on analysis whether they will file a motion for investigation. The Financial Intelligence Unit has not answered so far whether it presented Trošková’s transactions to police for investigation.

The latest information points mostly to the fact that there was an intimate relation between Vadala and Trošková: Vadala entrusted to her the management of large amounts of amount. Vadala confessed earlier that Trošková handled bank deals but details were not known. “She helped with all that was needed; she went to the bank, with deals, when we exported meat to Turkey,” he said back in 2016 about Trošková’s role. It's widely known that together, they tried to start a modelling agency but failed.

Where Trošková can be seen

The bank evaluated operations on the account of Vadala’s Slovak company, AV-Real, as unusual, because first, smaller sums of money arrived there for months, which suddenly changed in September 2011.Hundreds of thousands of euros flowed through the account, and was immediately withdrawn in cash or transferred to foreign accounts.

The document also states that the amount of the transaction was €540,000. It is not clear whether this is the accumulative worth of suspicious transactions, or just one specific withdrawal or transfer. Trošková’s identification data are stated for the transaction but the information on her relation to the suspicious account is missing. As she officially was not a statutory representative of AV-Real, it is probable that she was the person managing the account, i.e. the person who can withdraw or transfer money.

From a Macedonian

The bank that reported Trošková's unusual transactions to financial police also mapped where the high sums transferred to the AV-Real’s accounts came from. “The financial means have been sent from the Dituria-S company,“ the documents reads.

Read also: A murderer, an MP, a model: Who is who in the case Kuciak was investigating Read more 

The company belongs to a Lučenec-based businessman of Macedonian origin, Seat Aličauši. In the meantime, Dituria-S was renamed to Miraj, and through it, Aličauši owns plots and the building of the four-star hotel complex near Lučenec.

It is not known what Aličauši paid hundreds of thousands of euros for.

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