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Police in turmoil

Michal Hrbáček, a former secret service agent who allegedly organized the kidnapping of the former president’s son in 1995, was taken into custody on September 12 as an investigatio into shadowy commando units of current and former policemen continued (see story, Phone call lands former SIS officer in hot water).

(Source: SITA)

Michal Hrbáček, a former secret service agent who allegedly organized the kidnapping of the former president’s son in 1995, was taken into custody on September 12 as an investigatio into shadowy commando units of current and former policemen continued (see story, Phone call lands former SIS officer in hot water).

The commando units are suspected of having committed up to 140 home invasions, kidnappings, extortions, assaults and even murders. They first came to public attention in late 2006, when a trio of serving and former officers invaded the home of businessman Ján Kubašiak and killed him. Two of the attackers were convicted and jailed; a third, Juraj Roszik, began cooperating with investigators to provide further information on the gangs.

Hrbáček was taken into custody after he was tipped off by officer Alexander Sabó (left) that Roszik had been brought to Bratislava under police protection.

Meanwhile, police vice-president Michal Kopčík has been interviewed by the Bratislava military prosecutor, who handles criminal cases involving police, after being accused by a key witness in an organized crime case of illegal weapons dealing.

The witness, Ernest Šimonič, claimed to have seen Kopčík sell a machine gun at a Prešov gas station in 1998. It is the second time Kopčík has been questioned in relation to weapons offences; he has never been charged with any crime.

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák has backed Kopčík, and has questioned the reliability of Šimonič, who is being prosecuted in Košice for fraud, and was a member of a complex organized crime outfit that sold fuel oil as diesel. After the diesel gang was busted, Šimonič decided to cooperate with the investigation.

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