Robert Fico, leader of the opposition Smer party, said that the facts described in the Gorilla file, a leaked document allegedly prepared by the SIS intelligence agency, could be true, the TASR newswire reported.
According to the file, featuring alleged transcripts of bugged conversations between representatives of the Penta financial group and senior politicians and officials during the second government of Mikuláš Dzurinda in 2005-6, Fico visited a flat on Vazovova Street in Bratislava to meet the co-owner of the Penta financial group Jaroslav Haščák. At the beginning of the discussion he allegedly asked for a cola drink.
Fico told a press conference held on January 24 that even if the Gorilla transcript is authentic, drinking cola cannot be viewed as a crime. However, he did not confirm whether he had actually visited the flat or not.
He added that the Gorilla file deals with the second government of Mikuláš Dzurinda, in office between 2002 and 2006, and noted that his party took power only in 2006.
“What does the [document] have to do with Smer?” Fico said, as quoted by TASR, and asked the media not to embroil the party in the case.
Meanwhile, representatives of Penta presented their own view on the allegedly non-transparent business practices described in Gorilla. They commented on twelve transactions, saying that six of them had not even involved Penta. Moreover, they denied paying any bribes to politicians and said that Penta won all the public tenders transparently by offering the lowest price, the Sme daily reported.
The financial group refused to comment on speculation that its representatives had met officials and politicians during the second Dzurinda government in the flat on Vazovova Street, saying only that meeting in a flat is not a crime. Penta spokesperson Martin Danko said that it had made the statement to prove that it did not bribe politicians.
Penta also called on Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic, who has confirmed the existence of an SIS intelligence operation codenamed Gorilla, to specify the transactions in which the behaviour of the financial group was alleged not to have been transparent.
“The Interior Ministry will not reveal the tactics of the investigation just because dubious people require it to,” responded ministerial spokesperson, Gábor Grendel, as quoted by Sme, adding that Lipšic stands by all his previous statements on the Gorilla case.
Sources: TASR, Sme
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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