Slovak minister dismissed over carbon credit sale

May 5, 2009
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, BRATISLAVA, May 5 – Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Tuesday he would dismiss the country\’s environment minister Jan Chrbet over a controversial sale of excessive carbon credit last year.

The environment ministry last year sold between 10 and 15 million excess tonnes of carbon emissions to a US-based firm with an unclear background for a considerably lower price than the neighbouring Czech Republic and Ukraine.

"I will ask the president to dismiss Jan Chrbet because he failed politically and tried to escape the responsibility," Fico said after the minister refused to publish the contract.

Chrbet said Monday the company Interblue Group would withdraw from the contract rather than publish it. The company was registered in United States just a few monthes before the contract was signed, local media reported.

Under the contract, Slovakia sold the environment quotas for 6 euros per tonne to a private company while the Czech government and Ukraine sold them to Japan for 9 euros per tonne and 10 euros per tonne respectively.

Chrbet is from the patriotic party SNS party, a junior member of the ruling coalition. He will be the eighth minister to leave Prime Minister Robert Fico\’s government since it was formed in 2006.

Four of the departures have been over suspicion of corruption.

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