Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák presented a report to parliament on Wednesday, September 12, on the current state of the investigation into the so-called Gorilla political corruption affair which erupted at the end of last year and which hinted at the influence of a private financial group on politics and privatisation in 2005 and 2006. The eponymous Gorilla file contains alleged transcripts of conversations between Slovak politicians and businesspeople which were purportedly recorded at a flat bugged by Slovakia’s SIS intelligence service.
Kaliňák said that although investigators have questioned about 50 witnesses so far and gathered about 60,000 pages of documentary evidence, it has not yet been possible to file charges against anyone specific. The minister confirmed that the police investigative team is still at work and that its cooperation with other parts of the state apparatus is proceeding correctly.
Parliament obliged Kaliňák to present another report on the investigation in January, the Sme daily wrote. It also wrote that former interior minister Daniel Lipšic said that the investigative team does not feel it has the support of the government, Interior Ministry or Police Corps following statements by Prime Minister Robert Fico and the interior minister regarding the case.
Lawyers acting for Jaroslav Haščák, a co-owner of the Penta financial group whose name features heavily in the file, suggested that the minister’s report to MPs might have been at odds with the constitution. They argue, according to Sme, that there is no law that allows a minister to report on an investigation in progress, saying that only an investigator or a prosecutor may do so.
"I am confident that the team will succeed in putting together the mosaic that we all want to see," said Kaliňák, as quoted by the SITA newswire. According to him, this is an old and very extensive case; on the other hand, the largest-ever investigative team in the history of Slovakia is working on it. The author of the report, special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, stated that the investigation plans are constantly supplemented with new tasks. Kováčik has asked for new members to be assigned to the special investigative team from the Office for the Fight Against Corruption. According to Kováčik, is impossible to say when the investigation will be completed.
The alleged secret service document, which was published by unidentified persons on the internet at the end of last year, describes the political influence of Penta, a Slovak financial group, on political decisions in 2005 and 2006. The extensive material purports to describe how persons were nominated to state-run enterprises, privatisation committees, and a network of relationships across politics, business, and security services. Although it has been confirmed that a secret service surveillance operation codenamed Gorilla was actually carried out, the authenticity of the document has not been verified and, on the contrary, several people named in the file have questioned its authenticity.
Sources: 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.
13. Sep 2012 at 10:00