When recently-recalled Trnava Archbishop Róbert Bezák was named in 2009 to replace Archbishop Ján Sokol he reported about a number of unregistered bank accounts and transactions, the Sme daily wrote, as well as providing more details about a criminal complaint filed by an auditor who earlier this year examined the financial accounts of the diocese for the period from 2002 to 2008.
Sme wrote that the auditor found that the Archdiocese had dozens of bank accounts that were not recorded in its books to which church money was transferred. The allegations are before the General Prosecutor's Office but it has not announced its next steps.
On July 24 Sme reported that friends of Sokol living in the USA reportedly decided to entrust three cardinals and Archbishop Sokol with the management of their property and funds in Slovakia. The SITA newswire wrote that one of their goals was to establish a charitable home for seniors in Slovakia, based on a statement from Petra Orlická, PR manager for the law firm Čarnogurský ULC.
"I pledged to fulfil their will," said Archbishop Sokol in a press release, stating that to do so he set up a civic association with the mission to build the retirement home and also a special bank account to which 20 million Slovak crowns (about €664,000) was transferred. The money was released after the start of construction of the retirement home, Sokol stated. "No one from the civic association had ever received any money or any form of remuneration for their involvement in building the retirement home," stated Sokol.
Sme wrote that the civic association called Metropolitaník is led by Jozef Sokol, the nephew of the former archbishop and the statutory representative of the association is Ľubomír Bošanský, the head of the State Fund for Development of Housing, who is a nominee of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH).
Neither Jozef Sokol nor Bošanský were willing to provide any details about the Metropolitanik association, Sme wrote. Another transaction questioned by the media involved the sale of church land in Bratislava to the Tesco Slovakia company.
"The whole business transaction of selling the church land was made transparently and according to law and it had been duly approved and overseen by the Finance Ministry," stated Sokol who rejected accusations made against him.
The audit of the Archdiocese was initiated by Bezák and on July 23, the General Prosecutor’s Office sent the auditor’s criminal complaint to the Trnava Regional Prosecutor’s Office.
Source: Sme, SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.