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Former SIS deputy chief guilty of fraud

THE BRATISLAVA Regional Court on June 15 found Jaroslav Svěchota, former deputy chief of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS), guilty of embezzling Sk11 million (€275,000) while in office. The court gave him a five-year suspended sentence during which any breach of the law will result in two years in prison, the news wire TASR wrote.

Svěchota, who used his right to remain silent, was given a lesser sentence due to the condition of his health. He has survived a number of heart attacks.

Of the Sk18 million (€450,000) Svěchota took from the SIS treasury to buy surveillance equipment in 1998, he spent a portion but failed to account for Sk11 million, which has remained missing to date. He will have to repay the sum to the SIS.

The verdict is open to appeal and not yet effective.

Earlier in the court proceedings, former SIS chief Ivan Lexa, whom Svěchota named as having ordered the Sk18 million equipment purchase, invoked his right to remain silent.

Both Lexa and Svěchota were implicated but never charged in the infamous kidnapping of former President Michal Kováč's son, Michal Kováč Jr, in August 1995.

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