Disgraced Slovak privatization chief set to save the Eurozone

By bne IntelliNews August 8, 2012

Tim Gosling in Prague -

Anna Bubenikova, the former head of Slovakia's National Property Fund (FNM) who resigned over her starring role in the "Gorilla" corruption scandal, has been shipped into Greece by the EU to oversee privatisation there, local media reports.

Sarcastically calling her "the saviour of the euro," the daily SME reports that former Slovak finance minister Ivan Miklos recommended Bubenikova for the post in July 2011. That was a matter of months before the Gorilla tapes turned up, allegedly featuring a host of senior officials talking over cut price privatisation deals with murky financial group Penta in 2005-2006. Bubenikova, who as head of the FNM was essentially Slovakia's privatisation chief, has been accused of facilitating the agreements.

The scandal also drove the annihilation of the centre-right coalition - many members of which allegedly appeared on the tapes - in elections in March this year, opening the way for the current administration led by Smer. Bratislava is now calling for a reconsideration of Bubenikova's appointment to serve on a European Commission committee to oversee privatisation "due to ethical concerns," explains The Slovak Spectator.

However, according to Presseurop, SME notes that the Slovak justice system has still not questioned Bubenikova. And given Bubenikova has proved very efficient in her job, with the tempo of privatisation in Slovakia twice that of Greece according to the Gorilla document, the paper notes, somewhat sarcastically, that selling off €50bn of assets by the deadline of 2015 "should be a cakewalk for her."

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