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"Mafia buddies"
By Dag Daniš

The trial of Banská Bystrica mob boss Mikuláš Černák has become dramatic recently. Ľubomír Samuel is no longer Černák's lawyer, while Peter Pulman is no longer the judge on the case.

These developments were triggered by the prosecution, which appealed against the bias of the judges in Banská Bystrica, and demanded that the trial be moved to Prešov. According to the prosecution, Samuel threatened to reveal intimate details of Pulman's life if he didn't play along. The prosecution fears that the Banská Bystrica courts may be under the control of the mafia and their lawyers.

However awful these suspicions appear, they are likely well founded, as suggested by three convincing coincidences. First, Pulman ruled in Černák's favour and released him from pre-trial custody in December (the only reason he is not at large is because the prosecution appealed). At the same time, he refused to accept double murder charges against the Černák gang, and returned the case for "further investigation".

Secondly, when the prosecution demanded the case be moved, the Černák group immediately backed down and withdrew Samuel, while Pulman withdrew from the case.

Finally, the prosecutor's suspicions are not only founded on the fact that Samuel is a former judge with excellent contacts. They flow from real police information that is being investigated by the Bureau for Combating Organized Crime.

From these facts and circumstances it is clear that the Banská Bystrica courts are not functioning as they should, and that the Černák gang wants to make sure the case stays in their jurisdiction. They want it so much that they sacrificed their ace in the hole, Samuel. A man who can call both city judges and mafia lawyers "colleague", without irony.

Pravda, January 10

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