Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Most-Híd) announced new legislation preventing fraudulent mergers back in the Spring and the new rules took effect on November 8. In the meantime, owners used mergers to get rid of 4,000 firms, according to FinStat data. Often the merged companies have strawmen as owners or legal representatives. A case in point is Relco, which has merged with 22 firms, including those formerly controlled by Ladislav Bašternák. Its tax debt stands at €24m, up from just €5m in May. Its owner is French national Amélio Magé, and creditors have trouble contacting him. He is to be found in other companies that merged 900 times, the combined tax dues of which are €36m.