One of the long-term members of Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party, MP Dusan Munko, is accused of being involved in the dodgy sale of a state-owned share in the company Casinos Slovakia.
Daily Hospodarske Noviny (HN) revealed today that until the end of February, a 51% share in the lucrative casino operator was owned by national lottery company Tipos, but it sold off the stake just before the elections to Merk Reality, a company run by Munko’s daughter, at an exceptionally good price.
The daily claims Merk Reality paid just EUR 150,000 for the 51% stake in Casinos Slovakia, which generated a turnover exceeding EUR 27 million in 2010 alone. Tipos is claiming that the value of the entire company was set by an expert appraisal at between EUR 218,000 – 267,000 and so Merk Reality even paid over the top for the 51% share.
In defence of the dubious sale, Tipos spokesman Rastislav Cepe told HN that the stake was sold as it had started generating a loss for the state. Cepe says they approached 14 and 17 prospective buyers in two rounds, but after no sale was made (one initial bid was EUR 7 million), the stake was offered to Merk Reality. Munko himself claims no knowledge of what is happening in Casinos Slovakia.
MP Munko was accused of similar crony practices at the end of 2010 after it was revealed that under the previous Robert Fico government his former company Satur Travel had won a contract from Parliament to mediate the trips and flights of public officials. That company is also owned by his wife and daughter, after he transferred it to them. He was also in the news for refusing to stand down as head of social insurance agency Socialna Poistovna, while holding other posts.