The Slovak Supreme Court has ordered the release from custody of Jozef Šikrha, who is charged with embezzlement and other financial crimes related to his former position as head of the unlicensed deposit company Sun.
Judge Stefan Harabin presided over the senate, which released the Sun boss, the news wire TASR wrote.
Declared bankrupt in 2000, Sun was a company that lured deposits from the public on promises to pay yields of up to 40 percent.
Justice Minister Daniel Lipšic is disappointed over the Supreme Court's decision; he considers it buck-passing.
"It is sad that the Supreme Court Senate did not take the opportunity to serve as an instrument against organised crime," Lipšic said.
No doubt was cast over the reasons for custody or the reasons for criminal prosecution, so the court was fully competent to order custody, he added.
Šikrha was arrested in February 2003, and in February of this year the Bratislava V District Court extended his custody until May 5.
Lipšic is now considering recalling judge Dusan Strogončík as Bratislava V District Court chairman for extending Šikrha's custody by himself rather than through the court senate, as required by law.
This is said to have resulted in Šikrha's premature release from custody.
However, Lipšic still awaits the decision of the disciplinary proceeding he initiated against the judge earlier. The proposal calls for a reduction of Strogončík's salary by 50 percent for three months.
If convicted of the charges, Šikrha faces up to 12 years in prison for his involvement in a Sk92-million fraud and other white-collar crimes.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
28. Apr 2004 at 10:14