Opposition Calls on Fico to Move Out of Flat Rented from Basternak

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SaS and OLaNO-NOVA call on Fico to move out of flat rented from Basternak (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 31 (TASR) – Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) should move out of a flat rented to him by Ladislav Basternak, said Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and OLaNO-NOVA at a press conference held on Parliament’s premises on Tuesday.

The parties also called on Fico to present to the public the rental contract with Basternak, as well as documents proving that he’s been duly paying rent for the apartment.

Meanwhile, the Opposition called on Finance Minister Peter Kazimir (Smer-SD) to dismiss Financial Directorate chief Frantisek Imrecze. SaS and OLaNO-NOVA believe that the directorate was mainly responsible for sweeping Basternak’s tax case under the carpet. The parties also accuse Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) of this and are initiating a no-confidence motion in him in the House. They have enough MPs between them to do this. It isn’t known at the moment what position the remaining Opposition parties will take on the matter.

According to SaS and OLaNO-NOVA, another reason why Kalinak should no longer serve as interior minister is that he’s been interfering in the investigation. “If the interior minister claims that the whole case has been fabricated, how do you think the reopened investigation will turn out?” asked Daniel Lipsic (OLaNO-NOVA).

At the same time the Opposition parties called on coalition parties the Slovak National Party (SNS), Most-Hid and Siet (Network) not to protect Kalinak in the House with their votes. “We’re appealing to Smer-SD’s coalition partners to put pressure on their coalition partner in order to make Kalinak resign on his own,” said Lubomir Galko (SaS). The Opposition believes that Kalinak’s departure would mean a more independent investigation into the case.

The Basternak case revolves around a Bratislava apartment complex called Five Star Residence, which was built by a company owned by entrepreneur Marian Kocner. Basternak’s firm allegedly purchased seven flats for €12 million before applying for and receiving an excessive VAT refund worth €2 million.

Kalinak has described the Opposition attempt to oust him over the Basternak tax case as nothing more than an effort to score political points. He stressed that he’s never intervened in any investigation because such a course of action would be a violation of the Slovak Constitution. He stated that the investigator is fully independent and that it is the Prosecutor’s Office that is overseeing the legality of the investigation.