Bratislava, June 2 (TASR) – A criminal complaint over suspicions of subsidy fraud has been filed with the Prosecutor-General’s Office in the case of Bratislava City Councillors Rastislav Tesovic, Sona Svorenova, Tomas Korcek and Radoslav Oleksak who are linked by the case of suspicious coronavirus subsidies, Economy Minister Richard Sulik (SaS) announced on Wednesday.
Sulik added that the ministry will launch a more comprehensive check into the way the state pandemic aid had been paid.
According to Sulik, in the midst of the pandemic crisis in early 2021, the state wanted to provide a prompt and red tape-free aid to those really in need. “We paid out rent subsidies worth tens of millions of euros, about €60-70 million in total. That’s more than 80,000 contracts. If one percent of that was a misstep, it still isn’t that much, but it will mean 800 contracts,” he said.
The minister warned that now that there’s more time, the ministry is going back to thoroughly check each and every case and there will be legal ramifications for wrongdoers.
Sulik reiterated that he had declared zero tolerance for corruption and this lawsuit is likely not to be the last.
He warned every applicant who received the aid in a fraudulent fashion to come clean and return the money while they still can. “Because their problems are guaranteed only to snowball from here onwards,” he stated.
A few days ago, Sulik called the case of fraudulent drawing of subsidies by Bratislava Councillors outrageous. “I would have cut off the hands of these swindlers,” he claimed, adding that a few thousand euros is worth more to them than honour.
It was Transparency International Slovensko that drew attention to the case first.
In their responses to TASR, the councillors either stated that they had returned the money, reject the suspicions or find their participation in the scheme a mistake. Tesovic, Svorenova and Korcek gave up their memberships in the council caucuses and resigned from the boards of Bratislava city companies.