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Another twist in the saga of the Gorilla file

THOUGH the Gorilla protestors – fuelled by the public’s indignation over allegations of high-level political corruption – have departed from the streets on the heels of an apparent split among the protest organisers, daily developments around the so-called Gorilla file, which contains the alleged transcripts of conversation between various Slovak politicians and a businessman covertly recorded by the country’s SIS spy agency in 2005 and 2006, remain a central issue as Slovakia’s parliamentary elections approach in March.

THOUGH the Gorilla protestors – fuelled by the public’s indignation over allegations of high-level political corruption – have departed from the streets on the heels of an apparent split among the protest organisers, daily developments around the so-called Gorilla file, which contains the alleged transcripts of conversation between various Slovak politicians and a businessman covertly recorded by the country’s SIS spy agency in 2005 and 2006, remain a central issue as Slovakia’s parliamentary elections approach in March.

On February 16, the General Prosecutor’s Office published on its website a letter written on April 12, 2011 by Dobroslav Trnka, the then general prosecutor and currently the deputy general prosecutor, addressed to officials in the Military Prosecutor’s Office about a file he was returning concerning a criminal complaint filed by Peter Holúbek, a former SIS agent. The Sme daily reported that it was Holúbek who had covertly monitored the apartment on Vazovova street where meetings between Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group, and senior public officials and politicians allegedly took place.

Trnka’s letter published on the website stated that he had requested the file concerning Holúbek’s complaint on April 4, 2011, after he had read a story in the Týždeň weekly and that he had also requested the file on the complaint from the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the SITA newswire reported.

“After studying this written material I am amazed, since in the proceeding not only have the principles of criminal prosecution failed to be respected but obviously also the stipulations of the Criminal Code have been violated,” Trnka stated in the letter, as quoted by SITA.

Trnka went on to explain in the letter that the case, being investigated at that time by the Military Prosecutor’s Office, dealt with a criminal prosecution that started on November 9, 2010, alleging abuse of power by SIS agents who had reportedly gained information through the Gorilla file that threatened the economic interests of Slovakia but had not provided it to the police or prosecutors, instead giving it to unauthorised persons.

The publication of Trnka’s letter on the website came in response to a story published by the Sme daily on the morning of February 16 that suggested that Trnka had urged the military prosecutors to halt their investigation into the allegations in the Gorilla file at the same point in time when he and Jozef Čentéš were in a battle to be selected by parliament as general prosecutor. Trnka denied Sme’s claims.

“Without the intention to induce you how it should be decided in the respective matter, I want only to tell you to study stipulations of the Penal Code regarding halting criminal prosecution,” Trnka continued in his letter, as quoted in the Sme story.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office had overseen an investigation of allegations against SIS staff who had allegedly mishandled the Gorilla file, Sme wrote, adding that Trnka considered the investigation illegal as in the past the Special Prosecutor’s Office had already reviewed the Gorilla allegations as part of their investigation of suspected vote-buying of MPs.

“The police were decisively investigating the case until the Military Prosecutor’s Office stopped them,” Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic stated in response to the story in Sme adding that even though the police were going in the right direction, they could do nothing more after the prosecutor’s office stopped the investigation.

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