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Corrupt official gets seven years

A bureaucrats who demanded a Sk3 million (€80,700) bribe from a businessman has been sentenced to seven years in jail and handed a Sk150,000 (€4,040) fine, one of the toughest sentences ever handed down in Slovakia for bribery.

The Special Court in Banská Bystrica issued the judgement against Ladislav Gál, the head of the regional land authority in Trnava, finding him guilty of demanding the money from the legal representative of the S-Real Holding company, Miroslav Sýkora.

In return for the bribe, Gál promised to rezone farmland into building sites and issue a permit for the construction of an industrial park in Šoporňa.

Sýkora reported Gál's demands to the police and cooperated with officers as an agent provocateur, the SME daily wrote.

At the end of May 2005 he handed over Sk1.5 million to Gál, who later met with the mayor of Šoporňa and offered him Sk300,000 to ensure that the municipality okayed the changes.

Gál said he never asked for a bribe, and that the money police found in his briefcase came from the sale of a house.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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