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Archbishop Sokol fails in libel suit against Týždeň weekly

Retired archbishop Ján Sokol has lost a legal case he brought against the Týždeň weekly. Týždeň will not apologise to him, as he had requested, nor pay him the compensation he had been seeking, the Sme daily reported on May 16.

Retired archbishop Ján Sokol has lost a legal case he brought against the Týždeň weekly. Týždeň will not apologise to him, as he had requested, nor pay him the compensation he had been seeking, the Sme daily reported on May 16.

The Trnava Regional Court confirmed the decision of the first-instance court that turned down Sokol's libel lawsuit and his request for €50,000 in compensation. Sokol sued W Press, which publishes Týždeň, based on a series of stories from 2009 reporting the transfer of Sk500 million (approximately €16.5 million) from the sale of church land to former intelligence agent Štefan Náhlik. Sokol denied the transfer, while the weekly’s editor-in-chief, Štefan Hríb, said Týždeň had sources to back its story but no material evidence.

Náhlik was alleged to be the crucial person in the break up of the secret order of Franciscans, the TASR newswire wrote. Sokol, according to Hríb, transferred the resulting money to Náhlik. The court heard testimony from several witnesses, among others the former archbishop of Trnava Róbert Bezák, Bratislava Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský and Hríb. The story was based on three sources, one of them former MP František Mikloško. Náhlik allegedly received five instalments of Sk1 million each, and later settled in Canada.

Sokol sought an apology and compensation, which he said he intended to give to charity. The latest verdict is final, and no further appeal is possible, TASR wrote.

Sources: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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