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Investigation of mafia in the police resulted in detention of a million in cash
The cases against the people facing charges in police and judicial corruption are not based on penitents‘ testimonies only, prosecutors say.
Many witnesses exist and some of the charged persons are cooperating with the investigators. It is not true that the latter are enjoying their stolen wealth.
The prosecutors of the Special Prosecutor’s Office have thus reacted to the various speculations around the investigation of cases, which point to the activities of the mafia in the police.
„It is not based on one or two penitents‘ testimonies. It really is a higher quality investigation,“ prosecutor Peter Kysel said.
The investigation of police officials was mainly questioned by the now opposition Smer party, which has had ties with several of the people who have been detained.
Mills of God and Bödör’s group
The operation kicked off with the arrest of former head of the Criminal Office of the Financial Administration, Ľudovít Makó. After he started cooperating with the investigators, he was released from custody.
The case was based on the surveillance of the underworld group of Takáčovci, said prosecutor Michal Šúrek.
„Information leaks had been apparent in the long run, there were certain suspicions,“ he said.
In his testimony, Makó described how oligarch Norbert Bödör, together with then Police Corps president Tibor Gašpar, created a group in 2012. Through the group, they gradually got the most important police posts under their control, allowing them to interfere with investigations.
Bödör has been in custody on charges of corruption in agriculture.
The group, according to Makó, also worked to maintain Smer in power, particularly through attempts to eliminate its political rivals. That was why they had prosecutor Vasil Špirko and lawyer Daniel Lipšic followed. They also browsed Financial Administration records to collect dirt against current PM Igor Matovič and then president Andrej Kiska.
In this case, the police detained the property of eight persons, including those who have started cooperating with the police, according to prosecutor Kysel.
Operation Purgatory came on the heels of Makó’s testimony. Former Police Corps president Tibor Gašpar and former head of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), Peter Hraško, were charged. Makó claimed they were part of Bödör’s group.
Hraško subsequently ended up as a patient in a psychiatric ward.
The former head of wiretapping at SIS, Marian Zetoch, was detained. So was the former head of the economics section of the Interior Ministry, Martin Fleischer.
Other charged persons include police officer Vladimír Bisták and former police officers of NAKA, Milan Žáčik, Ivan Bobocký and Milan Mihálik.
The detained head of the national unit of the financial police, Bernard Slobodník, then started cooperating with the police after he was detained. So did NAKA officer Bobocký and former member of the secret service SIS, František Böhm.
Slobodník has admitted to taking bribes from Bödör to stop the investigation of the JOPI Trade company.
Böhm told the police about how he helped the Takáčovci group. He also described the bribes for former Police Corps president, Milan Lučansky, to prevent the investigation of some cases.
The testimony of Böhm and Makó led to the arrest of then special prosecutor, Dušan Kováčik. Based on the charges against him, Kováčik took a bribe to make sure that the boss of the Takáčovci group, Ľubomír Kudlička, would be released from prison. He is also accused of leaking information from the cases files.
Following a number of testimonies, Böhm was released from custody.
Following Operation Purgatory, former Police Corps president Lučanský was detained and placed in custody. He later committed suicide in prison.
NAKA detained the deputy director of SIS, Boris Beňa, and Peter Gašparovič, head of counterintelligence at SIS until recently.
They arrested Daniel Čech, who was alleged to have covered up the tax fraud of František Böhm.
Another detained person was the director of the office of special police operations, Jozef Rehák, on accusations that he took bribes for leaked information to the Bratislava-based Sýkorovci underworld group.
NAKA investigator Marian Kučerka was also arrested. Slobodník testified that Kučerka took €25,000 in bribes to make sure that the relative of MP Peter Žiga (now Hlas, previously economy minister for Smer), Štefan Žiga, was not investigated.
Former Bratislava Regional Police Directorate officer, Ladislav Vičan, was charged with blackmail during Operation Judas as well.
Kysel said that it is not true that a strict type of custody is being misused in the cases of these people.
„Many persons are in collusion custody in these criminal proceedings based on their collusion activities, not just out of fear of potential collusion activities,“ the prosecutor said.
The testimonies from previous operations have led to further arrests under the Babel case. The police charged five persons, mainly from the field of secret services.
One was former head of SIS counterintelligence, Ľubomír Arpáš, and lawyer František Polák, also formerly active in SIS. The police charged them both with blackmail.
Arpáš, according to the Gorilla file, is the person who sold the Gorilla recording to the Penta financial group.
The Babel case relies on a combination of testimonies of three direct witnesses; one of the charged persons has admitted to the deed, said prosecutor Ondrej Repa.
All of them continue to be charged, none of them „rewarded“ with the conditional suspension of criminal prosecution.
So far, investigators have detained more than a million euros from criminal activities. If due conditions are fulfilled, the money will belong to the state.