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Penta withdraws case against Facebook

TWO persons whose names are mentioned in the so-called Gorilla file sought court injunctions against the Facebook social network and two companies operating websites that published parts of the Gorilla file. Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group, and Zoltán Varga, the owner of the apartment where the information in the Gorilla file was reportedly recorded, filed six complaints between January 20 and February 2 with the Bratislava I District Court but the six judges hearing the cases have now dismissed them, the TASR newswire reported.

TWO persons whose names are mentioned in the so-called Gorilla file sought court injunctions against the Facebook social network and two companies operating websites that published parts of the Gorilla file. Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group, and Zoltán Varga, the owner of the apartment where the information in the Gorilla file was reportedly recorded, filed six complaints between January 20 and February 2 with the Bratislava I District Court but the six judges hearing the cases have now dismissed them, the TASR newswire reported.

The two men objected to publication of the Gorilla file on Facebook and the WebSupport and Tumblr websites. The file, allegedly prepared by the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency, purports to contain transcripts of bugged conversations between Haščák and various politicians and government officials at Varga’s flat on Vazovova Street in Bratislava in 2005 and 2006 which suggest corrupt activity took place, TASR wrote.

“We found out about the lawsuits from the media,” said Michal Truban, the head of WebSupport, as quoted by TASR, adding that it is possible that the Gorilla file was uploaded by one of its customers.

Truban said that before the complaints were filed with the court he had received communications from Haščák’s lawyers asking that the file be removed from the website.

“As the providers of the service, we cannot do it,” Truban told TASR, adding that his company forwarded these communications to its customers.

“Nevertheless, we consider the lawsuit baseless and we are happy that we are in the same group as Facebook and Tumblr. We advise them [Penta] to sue the internet in the next round,” Truban stated.
Penta later told the media that the complaint against Facebook would be withdrawn because after the contents of the Gorilla file had been shared via the social network for more than two months it would be useless to proceed further against the site.

Martin Danko, Penta’s spokesperson, explained that the complaint against Facebook was originally part of several complaints prepared at the beginning of January against other websites that had published the file. He also said that the complaint involving Facebook was filed with the court “after a certain communication failure” between Haščák and his lawyers.

“The lawsuits against the other two portals will not be withdrawn since they deal with [our] fundamental attitude,” Danko stated, as quoted by the SITA newswire, specifying that the court should label the Gorilla files as “untrustworthy and unproved material whose purposeful sharing violates the law”. He added that the websites had published the Gorilla file without providing any further information such as the status of the authorities’ investigation or the unproven truthfulness of the document, the Sme.sk website wrote.

The six complaints of the two men were filed at the same court that in late January issued a preliminary injunction, in response to a complaint by Haščák, blocking the publication of a book being written by Tom Nicholson, a former editor-in-chief of this newspaper. The court-ordered injunction prevents Nicholson from publishing the book or any other documents based on the Gorilla file and requires Nicholson to submit his final manuscript to the court as well as any documents he gathered in writing the book, the Sme daily reported.

The district court judges who handled the complaints against the websites did not include the judge who had issued the injunction blocking publication of Nicholson’s book, TASR wrote.

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