11 Oct 2017

Slovakia pays 'mates rates'

Before Radomír Bžán's links to the ruling party were published in the media, Slovak politicians didn't think 64 million EUR was too much to pay in legal fees.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Slovakia pays 'mates rates' - NewsMavens
Lady Justice. Roland Zumbuehl/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Why this story matters:

What's a fair legal fee in your country? In Slovakia, its 64 million EUR, but when the public opinion discovers your lawyer is your buddy, you apparently get mates-rates. Slovak politicians are very proud of bargaining their legal representative down to just 17 million EUR.

Radomír Bžán represented Slovakia in a Legal battle with Italy's Enel energy company, which could have cost Bratislava about 700 million EUR.

Bžán asked for 11% of whatever Slovakia saved if he won. And he did. His paycheck was worked out at about 64 million EUR. For just the one international arbitration.

Would that have been possible if Bžán's legal firm didn't have ties to the members of the ruling Smer party. A paparazzi photographed people from the firm hugging the former finance minister and a transport minister.

Before the lawyer's links to the ruling party were published in the media, Slovak politicians didn't think 64 million EUR was too much to pay in legal fees.

But now politicians are boasting about cutting Bžán's pay to 17 million, and some say they will continue to negotiate to get that figure even lower. Meanwhile, he's already been paid 4.9 million EUR.

Details from the story:

  • Lawyer Radomír Bžán is about to receive 17 million EUR for representing Slovakia in international arbitrations about the Gabčíkovo hydropower plant
  • Bžán payment was initially set at 64 million EUR.
  • Radomír Bžán has ties to members of the Smer party, which won the last elections
  • About 5 million EUR has been already paid to Bžán.
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