Posted by on 3 Sep 2012. Filed under Current Affairs, Top news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Slovakia To Return EUR 668,000 After Sports Project Fraud

Slovakia is once again in the limelight over a scam involving EUR 668,000 in EU funding for a sports project, with a strong possibility that Slovakia (or rather the taxpayers) will have to return the money to the EU.

A petition has been filed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway demanding that Slovakia pay back the money following the detection of fraud within a Slovak project.

The EEA and Norway Grants have financed a multi-purpose sports facility in Senec, Slovakia, with the aim of ensuring access to out-of-school sports activities to improve the health of children and young people in the city. Following allegations of fraud in the project, the donor states commissioned audits of the project. The audit reports clearly indicated that fraud had taken place, and investigations by Slovak authorities confirmed these suspicions.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have therefore requested Slovak authorities to reimburse the €668 184 which was paid out in a grant to the project. Slovak authorities are responsible for any follow-up with the project promoter ŠK SFM Senec.

The EEA and Norway Grants practice a zero-tolerance policy with regard to misuse of funds. There is a systematic follow-up on projects and programmes. The donors will impose sanctions no matter how small amounts involved in fraudulent behaviour. Source: www.eeagrants.org

29 Comments for “Slovakia To Return EUR 668,000 After Sports Project Fraud”

  1. Dave C.

    Well off topic but I have an interesting tale.
    Yesterday afternoon I went for a beer at my local and sat outside. Two vans pull up opposite, one with PO plates the other with an MI reg. The four herberts offload about 20 sets of tyres on alloys from the PO van into the MI van in exchange for a large wad of cash. Strangely, the sets were all dirty and used and only in fours.
    Maybe I am just suspicious, it could be that my old man was a copper and I have some of his genes, but this activity seemed a bit strange. Obviously not the opinion of the state police in the offices this took place outside of! Of course is was 4pm on a Friday so the chances are there were no police in the building.

  2. Dave C.

    James – The re-appointment of Laws comes as no suprise to anyone who understands politics. As I have said before, the vast majority of people who enter politics are bent before they get in to positions of power. Does anyone really believe that the top topic of any political agenda is not “What can we make out of this?” All countries are the same, the UK, the US and Slovakia, the few “good men/women” get fed up of what they witness, give up trying to deliver change, leave politics or jump on the gravy train.

    • James

      Well, yes. That was exactly my point. I was reacting to the fact that some on here appear to think that some countries have a rightful claim to moral superiority over this one. I think that’s bullshit.

      • George M

        Well being one of those that `have a rightful claim to moral superiority` I think you two guys have lived out in the sticks for far too long ….and gone native and think well everyone, everywhere is just like the Aryan Slowvaks. They are not , the Slovaks are a race apart ….perhaps if you guys worked with them, employed them, ran a proper business you would see 1) how the playing field is not level for non Slovaks. 2) What a bunch of tea leaves and lying corrupt toads most of them are . Not one of them ever surprises me . I remember my office manager, a nice girl I thought, with me for 4 years, blew her job, as she asked a salesman of the supplier of some computers for a expensive digital camera, as a bribe ( she even gave him the type, colour etc ) so the order and payment would `go through` smoothly ! BTW, I did not tell her I knew the Austrian Owner personally !

        The problem in Slovakia is that corruption in Slovakia ( from even the lowest level from the Car Park attendant, traffic cop to those in Power ) this just accepted as normal, where in the UK and other EU places it is not acceptable and is dealt with by the Police. The Law here on these corruption matters is at best poor and where there is a judge involved he his scared or plain crooked to convict someone, or it effects his pocket or his career . The Police here are actually run, by those that are in the corruption ….How can you change a entire row of senior Civil Servants each time a Governing Party Changes ???

        • Dave C.

          Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say all Slovaks are dishonest I have to agree with the general premise of George M’s comment.
          Ask any honest joe member of the public here why the policing is so poor and they will openly tell you that the town is run for the benefit of “certain interests” that don’t want their ” businesses” ruined. Articles published here suggest that the public and businesses expect to have to pay backhanders be they for medical treatment, permits etc. or just to ensure the smooth processing of paperwork. Public Servants with a less than credible or reliable background keep their jobs irrespective of what skeletons are exposed even when their appointment causes concern in the wider world and brings discredit to the country.
          As for the “level playing field” for foreigners in this country -Ha! I know potential investors who just gave up and moved on. I have faced open, demonstratable discrimination from government departments subsequently followed procedures and complained, have obtained agreement that what had transpired was wrong/illegal only to be told that no further action is possible because “senior management” are concerned that it would “rock the boat” i.e. – make them look bad. ( Of course non of this is ever given in writing!)
          There is a shortage of honesty, integrity, honour, pride and backbone in this country which is hardly suprising when you see the role models on TV almost every night spouting feeble excuses for their latest failings and pushing the blame in some other direction. I ask again, name one public servant, government official or politician who has admitted his failings or errors and left his post of his own volition – I can’t think of one which just about sums up the situation in this country.

  3. StaryJazvec

    According to Sport the sequence of events is that a whistle-blower informed the Minister of the Interior, the UBK and the donor countries in 2011 that money was siphoned off from the project and that a bribe was paid to an employee at the Urad vlady. The Ministry of the Interior and the UBK and the Slovak Police then set about doing absolutely nothing until the donor countries go public with the results of their audit.

  4. George M

    James have you had brain transplant, gone native, or what ???…….To compare the UK politics to Slovak is a bit like comparing Real Madrid to Accrington Stanley, as football appears to be your game ……..no one ever resigns in Slovak politics of dies off in some honor killing, they all hang on by their finger nails, until just booted out by the President .

    Former Prime Minister Iveta Radičová the closest Slovakia ever came to a honest joe ( even if she was a bit menopausal ) will not run for President in 2014, because she got fed up of the crooks, double dealin and the corruption in Parliament, even from her own SDKU party ….that Tax Office in Kosice debacle must have been the final straw for her .

  5. James

    OK, it’s irrelevant to this article, but, what the hell,it’s relevant to one point I made above.

    The UK PM has re-appointed David ‘fingers in the tin’ Laws to a cabinet post. Worse, it’s in the Education Department. That’s the same Mr Laws who resigned in disgrace over an expenses scandal 2 years ago. New iniatives for schools rumoured to include courses on lock-breaking and accounts-fiddling.

    All of a sudden, Mr Caplovic doesn’t look quite so bad…

  6. richardp

    IN THE END – SLOVAKS YET AGAIN SCREW THEMSELVES WITH CORRUPTION.
    We all realize that some corruption happens everywhere and in many cases its much larger than this 600,000 Euros (the USA admits over 6 Billion DOLLARS in CASH is unaccounted for in Afghanistan)
    However, as a Slovak living in a foreign land it is so sad that corruption tends to be everywhere and with any sum of money. We all know this is one of the reasons the country does not move forwards as fast as it should.
    Its actually quite ironic when the donating countries – Norway and Iceland are two of the least corrupt nations in the world on the UN Index of corruption and the money they donate is then pilfered away.
    Good luck getting further donations from these countries.

  7. George M

    OK JB, let me say it ….only a total dope could be mislead in this article …~~Following allegations of fraud in the project, the donor states commissioned audits of the project., bla, bla bla ~~~~

    More information may have been useful, but any needed correction,or grand apology no and go swivel ??

    Mind you JB …I thought you claimed once you were on the actual Government Office press department HotFax line along with all the news hounds that got this info ?

  8. alec hodges

    The article was somewhat misleading since it implied that the donors discovered the fraud, whereas it was in fact the monitoring Slovak authorities.. When evidence of fraud is detected it is passed on to the financial police who decide as to whether legal action is appropriate or not. Sadly there is very little will to pursue fraudsters and since the legal system is rather weak the con men have carte blanche access to all manner of opportunities. The banks don’t even bother reporting attempted fraud, so failure is not a significant setback.

  9. George M

    I read today that the fraud was revealed thanks to a counterfeit bank statement. The Corruption police compared the submitted statement with original bank records and discovered that some €62,000, which was supposed to be transferred to the supplier, was withdrawn in cash instead.

    Therefore, due to the fraud, the football club will have to return some €786,000 – €118,000 of which was provided by the State. A criminal investigation into the alleged fraud has been launched………..

    Yea.. yea.. yea ….I can hear the brush pushing towards the carpet already .

  10. George M

    Perhaps old Smug wears a ( never trust a man in ) hat then ?

    Facts, don`t actually matter to American`s, or even Slovaks for that matter. It is all in the presentation …Malinova lied ( errr no ! ) W.M.D`s are in Iraq ( errr no ? ) .

  11. alec hodges

    Thanks for the correction Dave and the added information.

  12. Dave C.

    Alec – Your history is failing you. Churchill was no longer the Prime Minister when the “diplomatic” decision to exclude the “Free Polish Forces” from the victory parade was made by Clement Atlees’ Labour govt. elected 26th July 1945.
    Churchill, who was then leader of the opposition, was furious and delivered one of his most moving speaches in the Commons. He was supported by many MPs from all sides of the house and by the Military High Command. Too late, invites were sent out but the Poles quite rightly refused to take part unless they could march as independant units, behind their own flag,not as part of British units.
    A dark stain and shame on the UK but non of Winstons’ doing.

  13. Dave C.

    Off topic but on the same general theme-
    Did you see the wonderful JOJ News report regarding the roof of a newly refurbished ( EU funded) school that ended up in the playground after a stiff summer breeze?
    Usual tripe that passes for reporting – head teacher lost for an explaination and the fire-brigade stating the obvious. No – Who passed the work as safe and up to standard? No – What would the body count have been if the playground was full of kids?
    I’m no structural engineer but from the TV footage I’m pretty sure nailing wriggly tin or plastic on to the occaisional bit of wood secured to the old roof with the odd nail is not what the EU paid for. Me thinks another audit is on the books.

  14. Sometimes the way in which the ruling elite, golden shower, over there open mouthed fellow countryman, astounds me!
    Here was something which could have benefited everyone, but no, someone has to go dump in the Jacuzzi. my only hope is someone will be convicted of this fraud, there is after all always hope…

  15. Dave C.

    It’s a shame that such a noble project should become a target for the Slovak national sport of till dipping.
    All funds given to this country should be audited and every cent accounted for. More importantly, those found to have “dabbled” must be locked up for a long, long time and all the money must be recovered from those who are guilty.
    Lumbering the tax payer with the bill for refunding the money is the easy way out. Seizing assets from the guilty, no matter how well they have hidden them, may serve as a tad more of a deterent. The current solution seems to penalise the innocent whilst the guilty enjoy their illgotten gains.

  16. alec hodges

    Exactly George. That’s what the Polish armed forces said of Winston Churchill at the end of the second world war.The Poles were banned from taking part in the victory celebration because Winston wanted to appease Stalin. Never trust a man who wears a hat.
    In nearly all cases fraud is detected firstly by the Slovak authorities and reported to the police who decide if action is necessary. The contributors are then informed and they take the necessary steps to recover the money. Usually the project beneficiaries are forced to pay the money. In a minority of cases the state, as the ultimate guarantor, has to repay. Though they are learning, the Slovaks are not yet as adept as the English at concealing theft and corruption. Presumably because not enough of them wear hats.

    • George M

      …what is this, stating the bleeding Captain Obvious day ? First Logova on the road accident , now Smug ?

      Tell you what Guy, I’ll try being nicer if you’ll all try being a bit more smarter?

      Naaaaa…. Forget it !

    • James

      ‘In nearly all cases fraud is detected firstly by the Slovak authorities and reported to the police who decide if action is necessary.’

      That’s not true in this case though, is it, if you read the article properly?

      I kind of agree on the wider point mind. The Slovak response to corruption tends to be aggressive denial or open contempt, perhaps along with some primitive threats (‘I know what kind of car you drive, wouldn’t be nice if you had an accident, would it?’) and general public shoulder-shrugging (‘yes it’s corrupt but, hey, this is Slovakia’).

      In Britain, they do the expensive establishment whitewash – the royal commission or the public inquiry. It takes a long time and by the time it’s over the public have forgotten what the problem was in the first place. If too radical steps are suggested, members of the committee start to backtrack (‘oh no, we didn’t mean to be THAT hard on Mr Murdoch, he’s over 80 now, you know’) Meanwhile the wrongdoers go away for six months or so, get an image makeover from Max Clifford or sb and are then free to once again start issuing dodgy passports, getting mortgage loans from unsavoury people, hacking more phones etc etc.

      Conclusion – the powerful are corrupt everywhere, just in different ways.

      Also agree with Dave C and slimsedg’s points below.

      • Losgar

        Good comment James!

        Alec said nearly all cases, not all cases.

        About the threats about blowing up cars: I would never take something like this lightly. I would suggest the person who was threaten like this to:
        1. Contact the police immediately
        2. If he for any reason doesn’t want to do that he can call the anti-coruption hot line, contact a news paper /The Sme would be my first choice/ and ask a politician for help /my choices would be in this order: Lipsic, Carnogursky, Miklosko/.

        An interesting story: My friend’s parents run a big chain of hostels in the UK /and abroad/. The money for starting this business they got from his father’s family’s criminal activities since the 50′. He describes his family meeting as a Sunday lunch at the godfather’s. His 4 or 5 uncles and his father’s uncles served their times. One of them was one of the men involved in the Great train robbery. Now they are enjoying their well deserved pension and ocasionally help their friends to solve unsolvable problems.

  17. George M

    Paul, for once I have nothing to say , the article sums up my personal problem with Slovaks and Slovakia . Never trust a man who wears a hat .

  18. Paul

    Common George, we are all waiting….

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