Company tied to Slovak president pays up taxes amid allegations

Bratislava (AFP) –


A company owned by relatives of liberal Slovak President Andrej Kiska filed 15 corrected tax returns, his spokesman confirmed on Wednesday, amid allegations by rivals that the self-made millionaire used it to breach spending rules during his 2014 campaign.

A 2015 tax probe leaked to the media last year suggested that the KTAG company formerly owned by Kiska paid less than it should have in taxes, fuelling speculation that the company may have wrongly deducted expenditures used to finance his presidential campaign.

The local Hospodarske Noviny daily reported on Wednesday that the 15 additional tax returns no longer contained expenditures on Kiska's presidential campaign.

Kiska spokesman Roman Krpelan confirmed the report, telling the Wednesday edition of the Pravda daily that "the KTAG managing director instructed the accountant to carry out the accounting again and prepare a supplementary payment."

Unconfirmed Slovak media reports said the payment was in the order of 145,000 euros ($175,000).

Krpelan told the news website last Wednesday that Kiska paid for his presidential campaign "by transferring money to the KTAG company from his private account and the company then paid for TV spots, advertisements and billboards" but flatly denied there was any wrong-doing.

Two weeks ago, Kiska nixed a 2019 re-election bid citing personal reasons amid calls for his resignation by his chief rival, former Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, who accused him of exceeding the 132,775 euro ($157,000) legal spending limit on his presidential campaign.

Running as an independent in 2014, Kiska defeated Fico, a populist leftist, who is the powerful leader of the eurozone country's governing Smer Social Democratic party.

Kiska and Fico have clashed on many fronts, most recently amid the political crisis triggered by the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak.

He was gunned down in February as he was about to publish an explosive report on alleged high-level corruption and contacts between top Slovak politicians and Italy's notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia.

Weekly mass protests triggered by his murder forced Fico's government to resign in March.

The new government retains most members of Fico's previous Smer administration and, as party leader, he is widely seen as still pulling the strings.