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Rehák and his two sons accused of blackmail

POLICE have arrested entrepreneur Ladislav Rehák, his two sons Juraj and Martin, and another unnamed person and have already begun a criminal prosecution. The men are accused of blackmail.

The accused are said to have forced an accountant - using physical violence and verbal threats - to sign notarial minutes that confirmed that she (the accountant) had embezzled money. It is alleged that by signing the minutes, the accountant, who was allegedly injured in the course of events, was acting in favor of the accused men, the TASR newswire reported.

In view of the evidence acquired, police have reason to fear that the accused men could attempt to carry out their threats, thus the accountant is now under police protection.

Authorities submitted the proposal on taking the four men into custody due to the concern that they could influence the investigation. Bratislava's Old Town District Court will decide on their continued stay in custody within 72 hours.

A lawyer for Rehák, Ondrej Mularčík, said at a press conference on November 9 that Ladislav Rehák and his two sons have by no means used verbal threats or physical violence against one of their company accountants. “The injured person came voluntarily to the notary's office, she confessed and wrote a notarial record,” said Mularčík.

According to her own confession, Mularčík said, the accountant took a total of Sk5 million (€138,000) from the accounts of several companies. Financial experts at Ladislav Rehák's companies have reported 25 withdrawals worth Sk2.7 million. After completing the collection of evidence, they plan to file a suit against the accountant. Mularčík also criticised the decision to place Ladislav Rehák in custody because, in his opinion, there were no legal reasons for doing so.

Legal representatives don't want to speculate on the political motives of the case, indicating that the issue has to be examined by the police.

Rehák began doing business in the 1990s and is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors at Orange Slovensko. In 2004, Rehák entered the media market. His media group owns the Týždeň and Slovenka weeklies, Radio Jemné Melódie (Soft Melodies) as well as Star magazine. Martin Rehák's name appeared on the so-called Mafia lists that were surreptitiously published on the internet in 2005. However, police have never confirmed the authenticity of the lists of purported Mafia collaborators.

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