Special status but linked to scandals: meet honorary consuls in Slovakia

The more exotic the country, the better the treatment.

Miroslav Výboh, who was said to be involved in the Pandur case, serves as an honorary consul of Monaco.Miroslav Výboh, who was said to be involved in the Pandur case, serves as an honorary consul of Monaco.(Source: SITA)

When police officers carried out a large raid in late March in connection with suspicions that contaminated soil had been brought to the construction site of the D4/R7 ring road, one of the people they detained was developer Andrej Brna.

Not only were his business activities interesting, but also the fact that he serves as the honorary consul of Uganda in Slovakia. Brna is also known for his business with convicted tax fraudster Ladislav Bašternák; together they built the bankrupted outlet in Voderady (Trnava Region).

In the end, Brna was not charged in the ring road construction case.

At around the same time, police officers found an invalid passport belonging to an honorary consul of the African state of Guinea in the safe of controversial businessman Marian Kočner.

Honorary consuls are usually well-situated entrepreneurs. Yet many of them are linked to various scandals and rumours of supporting a concrete political party.

“It’s true that some honorary consuls are very peculiar people,” said former diplomat Rastislav Mojto.

Honorary consuls need to be financially secure since they do not receive any salary for serving in the post, and often need to invest their own funds into the consulate’s operation.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry wants honorary consuls to have a proper profile, said foreign policy analyst Pavol Demeš.

“If they fail, they need to leave the post,” he added. However, suspicions over murky practices often do not provide sufficient reason for departure.

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