MP AND former interior minister Daniel Lipšic might face prosecution for libel, violation of personal rights, jeopardising confidential matters and misconduct by a public official. The case, which is being supervised by the Office of the General Prosecutor, is reportedly linked to statements he made early last year, the Sme daily reported on January 24.
The police launched a criminal prosecution in December 2012, after receiving a complaint from lawyers representing the Penta financial group.
“Basically, from the very beginning we were saying that we will sue [Daniel] Lipšic for his behaviour and activities in the function of interior minister,” said Penta spokesperson Martin Danko, as quoted by Sme.
According to reports in several media, the criminal proceedings are related to public statements made by Lipšic about alleged money laundering at Privatbanka (which is owned by Penta) as well as to Lipšic’s blog, in which he alleged that Jirko Malchárek, a former economy minister, had been bribed by Jaroslav Haščák, a co-director of Penta.
Vladimíra Gedrová, a spokesperson for the Office of the General Prosecutor, said that nobody has yet been officially charged. She refused to reveal any further details about the case.
Lipšic, who is now an independent MP and leader of a new party, New Majority (NOVA), told journalists on January 24 that he would not be intimidated by what he called “oligarchs”.
“I was informed several months ago that a number of oligarchs … were putting pressure on the Office of the General Prosecutor to initiate a criminal prosecution against me and other people who had ordered investigation of the Gorilla scandal,” Lipšic said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Lipšic also emphasised that people who were criticising Gorilla, a file purportedly containing transcripts of alleged wiretap recordings made by the SIS intelligence service, documenting conversations between top politicians and businesspeople, and spoke out against it are now being investigated instead of those who were directly involved in the scandal.
“I want to say, on behalf of all the people who may be affected by this and who may feel they have to defend themselves, that we won’t be intimidated,” said Lipšic, referring to accusations against “decent police officers, journalists and ordinary people”.
Lipšic also called on Tibor Šumichrast, the prosecutor who supervises criminal prosecutions, not to be afraid to charge him with the crimes.
“I [say] to the Office of the General Prosecutor that there is no unknown perpetrator,” he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that he was acting interior minister at the beginning of 2012.
“If the Office of the General Prosecutor believes that crimes were committed, it should have the courage to accuse me,” Lipšic stressed.
Though several media indicated that the prosecution might be linked to the investigation of the Gorilla file, Gedrová rejected such claims, saying that the Gorilla investigation is in fact being supervised by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, SITA wrote on January 25.
According to one of the decisions by which the criminal prosecution was initiated, someone described as “the person acting as the interior minister” is accused in three areas: libel, violation of personal rights and jeopardising confidential matters. This complaint was filed by Penta’s lawyers, who claimed that the then interior minister caused Haščák “moral damage through discrediting his person”, threatened his “reputation as a leading representative and member of the Penta financial group [in the eyes of Slovak] citizens”, harmed his image at work and in business-making, and interfered with “his family relations”, Sme wrote.
Haščák also claimed that Lipšic harmed him by making statements about the Gorilla file which were perceived by the public as “categorical truths which do not have to be proved and challenged at all”, Sme reported.
The second decision pertains to posing the threat of violating bank secrecy, which was filed by Privatbanka, the daily wrote.
4. Feb 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff