Italian adoption agency paid Slovak officials
25 Jun 2013
The Italian regional agency for interstate adoptions, A.R.A.I., financed educational projects in Slovakia for employees of orphanages, social officials and judges, with members of working groups that prepared the projects receiving some money as well, the Sme daily reported on June 22.
Since 2004, the agency spent almost €190,000 on five projects on which it cooperated with Slovakia’s National Centre for Human Rights, the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia (ZMOS) as well as Saint Elizabeth’s College of Health Care and Social Work in Bratislava, according to the documents received by Sme. The daily states some of the names featured on the invoices are recurring, including coordinator Peter Gurá?, who worked in the centre; the former and current section head at the Labour Ministry, Nadežda Šebová; and the head of the Centre for International Legal Protection of Children, Alena Mátejová. According to Sme, they received bonuses for the preparation of seminars, lectures and for their membership in the steering committee.
The A.R.A.I. does not agree that the high number of children adopted in Italy is associated in any way with projects that the Italian side financed here. Based on the centre’s agreement with Italy, out of 433 children adopted abroad within the last ten years, over 50 percent were adopted in Italy. She explains that this is because Italian couples are willing to adopt Roma children, siblings, children over seven years of age and children with health problems.
Head of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights Juraj Horváth says that Gurá?’s wife interpreted for Italian couples eager to adopt children from Slovakia. He added that it seems that Gurá? did not defend the interests of the centre but used it for personal reasons, as reported by Sme.
Sme also reported in its June 24 issue that certain judges who decided over adoptions to Italy spent a holiday in Turin.