Government still has the ‘(inter)blues’
The company that claims to be the legal successor of US company Interblue Group, which was mixed up in the suspect emission sale affair, has announced that it does not wish to withdraw from the contract.
The company, called Interblue Group Europe, is refusing to terminate the contract for the purchase of emission quotas, which is not good news for the Slovak government, because according to the contract the winner of the tender can make decisions about future emission sales also in the years to come, i.e. it can decide who to sell the emissions to and under what conditions.
A wave of public criticism and suspicions of crony practices led former PM Robert Fico to remove the Ministry of Environment from under the control of the SNS at the time. The emission quotas had been sold way under price to a ‘garage’ company that had been set up just a little earlier in the US. The Ministry of Environment was subsequently annexed to the Ministry of Agriculture.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, Martin Ruzinsky, stated that “In a letter sent to the ministry, the company expressed its disagreement with terminating the contract that Slovakia concluded with the original Interblue company”. The company Interblue Group Europe has still not fully demonstrated that it is the legal successor of the Interblue Group, and so the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment is still weighing up its response, informed Ruzinsky.
- In 2008 Slovakia sold 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions to Interblue Group at the price of EUR 5.05 per metric ton, which was well under the price that neighbouring countries received for their emissions.
- Interblue then sold on the quotas to Japanese companies at EUR 8 per tonne, meaning the intermiedary company Interblue Group made millions of euro on the deal
- The contract included a clause that Interblue Group would reimburse EUR 1 per ton if proceeds from the sale were spent on environmental projects in Slovakia, but to date nothing has been received.
- The company was then wound up, passing its rights to Swiss-based Interblue Group Europe.
- For the past year the transaction has been under investigation in Slovakia, Switzerland and the USA.