POLICE staged the murder of lawyer Gabriela Matušková and the disappearance of businessman Branislav Prieložný, Interior Minister Vladimír Palko announced June 1.
The two are safe and under police protection. Minister Palko apologized to their families who were not informed of the police plan and spent two days grieving and worrying over their relatives.
Although some critics considered the police plan inappropriate, Palko said that officers decided on the move in order to prevent a total of six murders, Pravda daily wrote.
"Considering that the police discovered these people were in danger, their protection was absolutely necessary," Palko said.
According to Palko, businessman Tobiáš L ordered the murders and planned the liquidation of four other people. He was arrested.
The case is linked with legal disputes related to the Rašelina Quido company, later re-named as the Peat Group.
According to the SME daily Prieložný wanted to enforce his claim on the Peat Group. The claim was for Sk100 million (€2.5 million). Lawyer Matušková was a legal trustee in the bankruptcy proceedings. Tobiáš L is the chairman of the Peat Group's board of directors.
On June 1, Tobiáš L paid a hit man Sk350,000 (€9,000) for the murders.
TV Markíza reported what was believed to be the murder of Matušková and even showed an unidentifiable corpse lying in a quarry where she had allegedly been found dead.
Palko said, however, that police never confirmed to the media that Matušková was killed or that the body shown on TV was her corpse.
In the case of Prieložný, police sent a memo to the media saying that he was missing and attached his photo, asking the press to print a public appeal to contact the police if they knew his whereabouts. The tricks were instrumental in catching Tobiáš L.
Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
2. Jun 2005 at 9:35