SNS nominees accused over EUR 4.77m settlement

The Anti-corruption Office has accused two nominees of national party SNS of having unlawfully paid millions of euro to the company Gemersky Mlyn right after the general elections in June 2010.

The two accused men, Jan Valo and Lubomir Neslusan, were members of the Executive Board of the National Property Fund (FNM) and are now being investigated of having caused the state a loss of EUR 4.77 million, reports daily SME today.

The huge pay-off to Gemersky Mlyn was made during the grace period given to the former government by the President before handing power over to the current coalition. It was paid as an out-of-court settlement in a long-standing lawsuit (since 1992), even though the state was on the way to winning the case. The Supreme Court had already endorsed the same decision as the court of first instance, which stood on the side of the FNM in the dispute.

After the elections results were in, the SNS party nominated Neslusan as the chairman of the Supervisory Board of the FNM. Valo was the head of the Legal Section at the FNM, and it was he who recommended endorsing the huge out-of-court settlement, even though the FNM’s lawyer in the case was against it and the Supervisory Board had instructed the board not to take any important decisions on the matter.

The Executive Board passed the motion, with Valo and Neslusan finalising the deal. The other members of the board from the former coalition (Smer and HZDS) are not being accused, even though some of them also voted in favour of the dubious settlement.

On the very same day that the vote was taken, 20 July 2010, the money was transferred to Gemersky Mlyn, which had been acquired just a few days earlier by a Zoltan Horvath from Budapest. To date neither Valo nor the SNS would comment on the case, but now that accusations are flying, they are claiming innocence.

Press secretary for the SNS, Jana Benkova, told SME daily that the SNS nominees had not voted in favour of the settlement. The other members of the board, though, are claiming that Valo recommended them how to vote.

It is now hard to prove or disprove who voted how, though, because the procedure at the FNM at the time means there are no written records of how the voting went. The minutes of the meeting only state that six members were in favour, one against and that three had abstained. The investigation will therefore base its ruling on the testimonies of those involved.

Current head of the FNM, Anna Bubenikova, noted that there are several suspicious contracts at the FNM involving Gemersky Mlyn and that they are currently being analysed.

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