Lexa arrested in South Africa

Ivan Lexa, former director of the Slovak service and a member of the Slovak parliament, has been arrested in South Africa after trying to use a false passport at an airport 20 kilometres north of Durban. Slovak authorities are negotiating with South Africa to have him extradited.

Lexa is wanted in Slovakia on eight different charges stemming from his 1995-1998 time at the head of the Slovak Information Service (SIS), including fraud, sabotage, extortion and abuse of power. Although he was once charged in the 1995 kidnapping of Michal Kováč Jr., the former president’s son, the charges were stayed on a blanket amnesty issued by former PM Vladimír Mečiar in 1998.

After spending three months in pre-trial custody in 1999, following parliament’s approval of the stripping of the immunity from prosecution that Lexa enjoyed as an MP, Lexa was released from jail on the order of the Bratislava region court, and fled the country in July 1999. A court issued an international warrant for his arrest in September 2000, which was followed by an Interpol arrest warrant.

Slovakia is hoping to have him repatriated under an international deal between Great Britain and Czechoslovakia 20 years ago.

Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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