THE POLICE recorded phone calls of Supreme Court judge Štefan Michálik during a time when prosecutor Michal Barila, back in 2010, discussed with him the release of a man accused of fraud, police recordings revealed by the Specialised Criminal Court suggest, according to the Sme daily.
The Specialised Criminal Court, which started proceedings in the case of the suspicion of corruption, played the recordings during a public session.

The recordings suggest that Barila, who was allegedly only a mediator, discussed with Michálik the release of Ľuboš Kačkovič, who was in police custody for fraud. Michálik says he cannot comment on the case as he does not know the content of the recordings. However, he disagrees with how the police and the prosecutor have interpreted them, Sme reported on July 6.

Five people have been charged in the case, including attorney Ladislav Ščury, who was the district chairman of the Most-Híd party in Čadca before the affair came to light. After he was charged, the party withdrew his membership. While Barila has been charged, Michálik has not since the Constitutional Court refused to surrender him to prosecution, according to Sme.

The police say that Kačkovič, who was at that time in custody, asked for release, offering a bribe of at least €30,000. Ščury allegedly gave the money to Barila during a meeting with their joint friend Peter J. According to the investigation, Barila then gave the money to a judge. All of them deny the accusations.

When planning the alleged bribe, Barila complained to Peter J. about how stressful the whole case is, the investigation suggests.

“It is very tiring for me, very stressful,” Barila said in one published record. “But what can I do? We have to help our friends.”

Barila said that the conversation was about his ill daughter and that Peter J. arranged an examination for her with a doctor. He refused to comment on any other conversations.

According to the recordings, when discussing the issue over the phone, all the people involved were being cautious; Barila stressed that no one should be called by name and preferred personal meetings instead of phone calls. However, the content of their calls match up with the police story, according to Sme.