Migaš' trip to Japan draws media and political criticism
Jozef Migaš the Speaker of the Slovak Parliament, continued his official trip to Japan amidst a flurry of criticism by Slovak politicians and media who said that his trip was untimely and too costly. Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová, Migaš' reformed communist Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ) colleague, said that he should have stayed in Slovakia during key parliamentary debates on the 2001 budget.
Several of his colleagues have also voiced disapproval of the trip. Noting that while in his post Migaš had already travelled to far-off destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and China, they accused the Speaker of Parliament of using his post as a "personal travel agency".
Migaš on December 5 met with Tamisuke Watanuki, the chairman of the lower house of the Japanese Parliament, and with Yutaka Ioune, the chairman of the upper house of Japanese Parliament. Migaš was also received by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
Košice mob boss Borza arrested in Czech Republic
Košice underworld boss Dušan Borzensky, also known as Borza, was arrested in the Czech Republic on December 1. Borza is wanted in Slovakia for multiple murders, illegal possession of firearms, and property damage. He is also under suspicion for criminal activities in the Czech Republic.
Borza is being charged for a triple murder in a bar in the east Slovak town of Lemesany in May as well as the murder of Karol Konarik, a rival underworld figure in Košice. Slovak Police Vice President Imrich Angyal said that Borza had been caught by Slovak and Czech police who had been monitoring the movement of people who were in contact with the mafia boss. An international warrant had been issued for his arrest by Interpol.
After the arrest, Slovak Police Chief Ján Pipta said that during the investigation it had been revealed that Borza had been closely "cooperating" with local Košice police officers. It was common, he added, for illegal relationships between the police and the mafia to be revealed after an underworld ring was broken up.
Lack of evidence halts Ducky murder trial
The trial of Oleg Mikhailovich Tkhoryk, the Ukranian national charged with murdering Ján Ducky, the former Economy Minister, head of the SPP gas utility and member of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), was suspended November 30 due to a lack of evidence.
The prosecution immediately appealed the decision of the Bratislava Court to free Tkhoryk. Interior Ministry Chief Investigator Jaroslav Ivor said that the ruling was not final and that the suspect could still be charged with the murder.
Ducky, who at the time of his January 1999 killing was being investigated for mismanagement at SPP, was shot four times in the head on the ground floor of his Bratislava flat. Tkhoryk has repeatedly pledged his innocence in the case, a plea supported with an alibi from Ivan Ivanovich, the reputed head of the Ukraine mafia in Slovakia. The alibi is reported to have been stronger than circumstantial evidence placing Tkhoryk at the site of the murder.
Problems mount for private TV station Luna
Problems for the troubled private television broadcasting network TV Luna mounted on December 6 when employees gave an ultimatum to general director Peter Sedlák threatening to collectively quit if they did not receive their unpaid wages for October and November by Friday, December 15.
The latest development was yet another problem for the struggling station, which began broadcasting on November 27, 1999. Nine months later, Luna had to fire 102 of its 237 employees to cut costs. Airtime was also cut. This past October, half of the remaining reporters quit after complaining that they were being paid neither in full nor on time.
Compiled by Chris Togneri from TASR and SITA