Prosecutor will investigate allegations against Smer only if a criminal action is filed

Prosecutor-General Dobroslav Trnka said on May 19 that his office will not act on new allegations made by a former senior member of Smer, Bohumil Hanzel, in an interview with the Sme daily about the sponsorship relations within the party unless Hanzel files a criminal complaint concerning the matter, the TASR newswire wrote. Hanzel’s claims concern sponsorship methods in which he was engaged while serving as a co-founder of Smer.

Prosecutor-General Dobroslav Trnka said on May 19 that his office will not act on new allegations made by a former senior member of Smer, Bohumil Hanzel, in an interview with the Sme daily about the sponsorship relations within the party unless Hanzel files a criminal complaint concerning the matter, the TASR newswire wrote. Hanzel’s claims concern sponsorship methods in which he was engaged while serving as a co-founder of Smer.

“The Prosecutor's Office won't be drawn into the election campaign unless a criminal complaint is filed," said Trnka, who noted that earlier this year he did not act on allegations of shady funding involving the opposition SDKÚ party until a criminal complaint was lodged against it.

The editors of Sme may lodge a complaint themselves providing that they are in possession of the evidence mentioned in the paper. Hanzel, who quit the party in 2006, is quoted as saying in Sme on May 19 that he has seen a notarised copy of an agreement between Smer and five sponsors concerning specified places in the Smer candidate list.

He also said that he personally attended many meetings with sponsors who provided some Sk60 million (€1.99 million) to the party in 2000-02. Smer chairman Robert Fico is also said to have solicited sponsors for the party.

“All official agreements were processed through then general manager of the party Igor Federič. Fico has always arranged it so that only what is essential is put on record,” said Hanzel regarding the 2002 election campaign.

Allegations made by Hanzel are “utter hogwash”, Fico told a press conference on the same day. “He’s basing his accusations on some sort of notes (of his). They’re utter hogwash, I feel sorry for him,” said Fico, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

“This gentleman was never a founding member of Smer. We’ve parted ways with him, because he voted in favour of Zajac’s reforms,” said Fico, referring to legislative changes introduced by ex-health minister Rudolf Zajac during the former government’s term of office (2002-06). According to the prime minister, that was why Hanzel was not included on Smer's slate for the 2006 general election.

“First of all I'd like to say that the accounting and financing of the party have been in absolute order since the party was founded in 1999,” said Fico. “We've been under fierce scrutiny from the beginning.”

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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