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Police to reopen Gorilla

THE POLICE will reopen their examination of information contained in an extensive document that describes alleged operations conducted by the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) under the codename Gorilla, with the aim of collecting information on what the document indicates to be the influence of the financial group Penta on Slovakia’s politics between 2005 and 2006. Though Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic refused to comment on the content of the files, which were published on the internet by an anonymous source, he confirmed for the daily Sme on December 27 that the police will be examining the information. He stated that the documents include several claims that could be “quite easily confirmed or denied”.

THE POLICE will reopen their examination of information contained in an extensive document that describes alleged operations conducted by the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) under the codename Gorilla, with the aim of collecting information on what the document indicates to be the influence of the financial group Penta on Slovakia’s politics between 2005 and 2006. Though Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic refused to comment on the content of the files, which were published on the internet by an anonymous source, he confirmed for the daily Sme on December 27 that the police will be examining the information. He stated that the documents include several claims that could be “quite easily confirmed or denied”.

A number of local media outlets received the files in late December. Penta dismissed the published material as untrue while the SIS has itself cast doubt on the credibility of the leaked materials. An SIS spokesman told the Aktualne.sk website that the SIS is already familiar with the alleged material, which has been subjected to an investigation by relevant authorities in the past.

Nevertheless, on December 28, the daily Sme reported that SIS director Karol Mitrík, a nominee of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), blocked the investigation into the case of Gorilla, which indicates possible links between the second government of Mikuláš Dzurinda, the leader of the SDKÚ, and Penta. When checking information in the alleged SIS document the police requested Mitrík to release SIS members from their vow of confidentiality. As Mitrík refused to do so the investigation was unable to continue, Sme reported.

The Office for the Fight against Corruption had been dealing with the case from November 2010 until July 2011, according to the daily. Subsequently, the Military Prosecution in Bratislava took over the case and in September 2011 it announced that the case was wrapped up.

The deputy prosecutor general has doubted the authenticity of the documents.

“They [the documents] aren’t authentic, as no recording or record on a medium that would prove that they are from the given recording or from the SIS system has been found,” said Dobroslav Trnka, as quoted by the private Markíza television network on December 23.

The SIS has told Sme through its spokesperson that the intelligence service has taken steps in “this so-called media case to the scale and in a manner defined by the law”.

According to Sme, during the time that SIS carried out the so-called Gorilla operation it was headed by the late Ladislav Pittner of the SDKÚ, while its current head, Mitrík, was at that time a deputy of the SDKÚ. Sme suggests that if the documents came from the SIS, then they must have leaked at a time when the intelligence service was managed by a nominee of Smer, Jozef Magala.

At that time the investigation focused on aspects pertaining to the alleged buying of the votes of independent deputies back in 2006. The file contains concrete names and sums ranging from Sk1 million to Sk6 million, Sme wrote.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Iveta Radičová has, according to a Sme report from December 28, said that during the new investigation the current SIS leadership is ready to cooperate.

“The investigation bodies now have a second chance to arrive at a conclusion,” the press department of the Government Office said, as quoted by Sme.

Alleged wiretapping leaks that are circulating on the internet and were sent to some media outlets are not true, investment group Penta spokesman Martin Danko told TASR on December 21.

"We've known for approximately two years that material of this content was circulating among reporters and the Slovak media in various ways,” said Danko, as quoted by TASR newswire. “We feel that whoever drafted this document or decided to use the information in this way...mixed conspiracy theories with generally-known facts that occurred in the given era in Slovak political and economic life.”

Danko added that the aim was to harm either Penta or some political parties. The financial group will seek legal protection from what they call a damage caused to the company.

The alleged 44,000-word document features the name of Jaroslav Haščák, Penta co-owner, and his alleged conversations and connections with then ruling coalition politicians, including former economy minister Jirko Malchárek, a nominee of the New Citizens’ Alliance (ANO) established by Pavol Rusko, and political nominees including some from the party Smer, Sme daily wrote.

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