Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) : Neue Korruption in der Slowakei
Und wieder stimmen wir ein in das schöne Lied : „Wenn Du denkst es geht nichts mehr, kommt Korruption aus Slowakei daher“ !
Nun geht es wohl doch endlich Robert Fico und Robert Kaliñak an den Kragen
Wenn Fico fällt, dann fällt auch Robert Schmid !
Police recorded cottage meetings of Fico, Kaliňák and people close to corruption cases
Prosecutors claim the recordings confirm attempts to interfere with the investigation of major corruption cases under Smer governments.
The prosecution service has documented meetings of Smer leader Robert Fico with people close to those charged in major corruption cases from the era of the Smer governments.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office believes that these meetings were held in attempts to influence the investigation and prosecution of several of these cases. The prosecutor has now put forward audio and video recordings of these meetings, as part of the prosecutor’s proposal to prolong the pre-trial custody for former Police Corps president Tibor Gašpar and other people charged as part of Operation Purgatory. Their current pre-trial custody expires on November 5.
The audio and video recordings are of talks between Robert Fico and his onetime interior minister Robert Kaliňák, attorney Marek Para, the father of businessman Norbert Bödör, Miroslav Bödör, and the son of Tibor Gašpar, Pavol Gašpar, the Denník N reported. Pavol Gašpar is the lawyer of Norbert Bödör.
During the recorded conversations, these people reportedly also discussed the prosecuted cases and press conferences.
Bödör, Gašpar and other high-ranking police officers stand accused of having organised a group that manipulated police investigations and collected compromising materials about Smer’s political competitors.
The Aktuality.sk news website published pictures from a meeting in a cottage. The pictures show Fico, Kaliňák, Para, Pavol Gašpar and Miroslav Bödör. The police monitored the cottage for several days and obtained one hour of audio and video recordings, as well as hundreds of pages of transcripts of the conversations.
Prosecutors confirmed the recordings
Special Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Jana Tökölyová confirmed that the office submitted audio and video recordings as part of the proposal to prolong pre-trial custody for people facing charges in the Purgatory case.
She said that the recordings and their word-for-word transcripts confirm the efforts of several people to influence the criminal prosecution of the most serious criminal cases, and „to discredit and criminalise the NAKA investigators and prosecutors of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, as well as information leaks from some law enforcement bodies to unauthorised persons.“
The recordings have been obtained in line with the Penal Order based on a judicial order in another criminal prosecution case, she added as quoted by the Sme daily. This is crucial to use the recordings further in the process, the daily noted.
The Purgatory case
Operation Purgatory landed former Police Corps president Gašpar and several of his former high-ranking subordinates in custody, including head of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) Peter Hraško and head of the NAKA anti-corruption unit Robert Krajmer.
They have been charged with organised crime, the abuse of powers of public officials, and corruption. Gašpar has been in prison since last November, Norbert Bödör since last July, when first arrested in another operation, in the Cattle Breeder case involving alleged agricultural subvention fraud.
The work of the Purgatory Team started in 2020, after the police under the government of Peter Pellegrini of Smer (he has since left the party and leads the newly-established Hlas) raided the homes of Takáčovci underworld group members, arresting dozens in October 2019. Some of the detained persons started talking to the police and pointed to Ľudovít Makó, former head of the Financial Administration’s Criminal Office under the Smer government, as the man who had been helping them.
Subsequently, NAKA formed the Purgatory Team, which arrested Makó in September 2020.
Makó’s arrest turned out to be a breakthrough success for the Purgatory Team, because he immediately started cooperating with investigators. He testified against influential people, including Norbert Bödör and Tibor Gašpar, as well as former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik. The latter was sentenced to 14 years in prison on September 20.