POLICE have charged one of their own officers with leaking to the media two lists of people alleged to have connections to organised crime. The lists, containing names, photographs and detailed personal information, quickly became known as the ‘mafia lists’ and police have been busy trying to identify the leaker since they were published. In mid-October an officer working for a special organised crime unit failed to pass a lie detector test and was later accused of stealing the documents.
The prosecution of the police officer accused of stealing and leaking the so-called mafia lists is based on the results of the polygraph test. During a subsequent interview, the accused officer admitted leaking the documents “for the most part”, according to Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic. She is now charged with abuse of power by a public official.
The so-called mafia lists have been making news in Slovakia for the past couple of weeks.
Two separate lists of people allegedly connected to various mafia groups have been published. The first one was reported by the private TV channel Markíza. A subsequent list, reported by the Nový Čas daily in early October 2011, was 10 pages long and contained more than 300 names, with pictures and detailed personal data including birth-registry numbers, car licence-plate numbers and gun-licence numbers.
Investigators believe the policewoman, from the police’s special department against organised crime (ÚBOK), copied the data onto a USB stick and later onto the laptop of another person. The police are still investigating her motives and other circumstances of the case.
“It was an individual failure by an officer,” Minister Lipšic told a press conference.
The police insist that the leaked information is only a part of the databases which ÚBOK officers use in their operations and in documenting organised crime networks in the Bratislava region.
“Their value is minimal,” Police Corps president Jaroslav Spišiak said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “This leak of information did not cause any disturbance to the activities of the Office for the Fight against Organised Crime.”
However, this is not the first time that so-called ‘mafia lists’ have appeared in public. The first time documents of this kind were published by the media was in 2005. At that time, the author was Spišiak himself, then serving as deputy president of the Police Corps, as he admitted in an interview with the Sme daily in January 2011.
He justified his decision to publish the 2005 list by saying “journalists did not dare write anything about anyone, [or] at most after his death they called him a mobster.”
This time around, however, Spišiak denied any connection with the published mafia lists and said the police had not been ordered to create any such lists. However, he admitted that in March 2010 a list of so-called “groups of interest” had been compiled by the police under his predecessor as Police Corps president, Ján Packa, Sme reported.
Packa has said he is not aware that the police would have drafted such lists during his term in office but did confirm the existence of lists of persons in whom the police might be interested, SITA reported.
After the current lists were published, however, Lipšic stated that the police in every country make lists of criminals and organised groups. This information, however, is classified, SITA reported.
17. Oct 2011 at 0:00 | By Michaela Terenzani with press reports