THE SPECIAL Court on February 11 launched the trial of Martin Novotný, who formerly served as an advisor to former prime minister Iveta Radičová, and who was later accused in the bribery case surrounding the construction of the Osrblie biathlon stadium.

Novotný, along with former ambassador to Kenya Igor Líška and the owner of the construction company commissioned to reconstruct the facilities, have all been charged over an alleged bribe associated with a government grant paid to the Slovak Biathlon Association (SZB) and the Biathlon Club Osrblie. The money was intended for the completion of a multi-use building in Osrblie’s biathlon centre. The government assigned a total of €1.6 million for the project, with €1 million to come from the Education Ministry, €300,000 from the Finance Ministry and the other €300,000 from the prime minister’s financial reserve.

Radičová stopped the subsidy after the scandal came to light. The investigation did not show that Radičová or Anastasia Kuzmina, who asked her officially for the subsidy, are involved in the bribery case.

Novotný rejected the corruption charges.

"I did not ask anybody for any bribe. It is not part of my practices. I reject such behavior," he stated, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Former diplomat Liška also testified in the court. He said that the €30,000 he accepted from Kňazík and Pavel Prečuch was meant as a bonus for his consultancy services.

Kňazík testified before the court on February 12. He refused to speak, arguing that he was already heard twice by the investigators and he does not wish to make any changes to his statements.

“The state owes me money for the work I have performed in Osrblie, nobody takes interest in that,” Kňazík said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that he refused to testify since his testimony would bring him another criminal prosecution even though he already was effectively sentenced over this issue. Kňazík was previously given a conditional sentence.

Source: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.