Threat of renewed underworld war hangs over Bratislava after a suspected gangland boss is gunned down in his car
photo: SME - Pavol Funtál
Takáč was shot on July 30 as he was getting into his car in front of an apartment building in Bratislava where he lived. An unknown perpetrator fired at Takáč from an automatic weapon. The man was killed by 10 bullets, a total of 15 shots are believed to have been fired.
Takáč (37) had previously survived a shooting in one of Bratislava's nightclubs in October 2000, when his bodyguard was shot in the neck. The man behind the attack that occurred three years ago - Tibor V. - was sentenced to four years for inflicting bodily harm. He was released on parole on the day Takáč was killed.
Crime fighters are hoping to find the murder weapon and the vehicle in which the perpetrator escaped. Investigators have denied claims that two suspects in the case have already been detained.
According to daily Nový čas, Takáč was one of the three most senior figures of the Bratislava underworld. Police representatives did confirm that the deceased had ties to the criminal environment.
"As far as the victim, Ján Takáč, is concerned I can only say that he was involved with the Bratislava underworld," said Stanislav Ryban, spokesperson for investigators, in an interview with TV Markíza.
"I can confirm that in the past he had been prosecuted for armed robbery, " Ryban said.
Reports of Takáč's conflicts with other business groups in the city have surfaced in the past.
In March 2001 a group of around 30 armed masked men dressed as police commandos raided Jadran Shopping Centre, where they attacked guests and owners and destroyed property.
"It was the Takáč group," a Macedonian businessman told Slovak Television at the time.
"It's a lie. I have nothing more to add to that," reacted Takáč for Nový čas. Takáč explained that he was blamed for the attacks because employees of his security service were tough on foreigners looking for trouble in clubs.
"The owners of several places where my employees work as security have decided not to let in problematic foreigners, especially from the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, because they brought in drugs. My two guys threw out a couple of foreigners from a bar a couple of days before. They called in reinforcements and beat up [my employees]," said Takáč.
The dailies SME and Nový čas reported that Takáč may have been involved with the private security service Vesuv K.T. Security, although the business register does not list him as a shareholder or executive of that company. The register does show he held those positions in a company called Vesuv K.T. Slovakia.
An employee of Vesuv K.T. Security had been accused of causing mayhem in connection with an incident in a Bratislava pub in which two English football fans were shot on October 12, 2002, prior to an international football match.
The manager of the bar had called the firm after some 60 drunk customers refused to leave after closing time.
The security men reportedly started shooting and bullets hit two of the Englishmen. Both survived the incident.
The recent killing is just another on the list of assassinations of members of the Slovak underworld over the last few years.
Róbert Holub, a Košice gangland boss was shot in October 1997. A sniper shot him through the window of a Bratislava hospital, where he was recovering from wounds inflicted in a shooting in Bratislava's Danube hotel.
Bratislava mob boss Eduard Dinič died in May 1998, when he was lured out to a tennis court on the outskirts of the city. Explosives placed under a passageway leading to the courts were detonated as Dinič was walking over it. His brother was shot just months later, in October of the same year.
Peter Steinhübel, shot in August 1999, was the last major figure to be killed in Bratislava before a long period during which no high mafia figures were murdered.
That period of calm may now be over, as media reports indicate that the murder may spark a circle of revenge and violence in the capital. "It's going to get very hot here," said a friend of Takáč quoted by the Nový čas daily.
11. Aug 2003 at 0:00 | Lukáš Fila