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Smer MPs drop investigation of military intelligence service embezzlement claims

The parliamentary committee that oversees the military intelligence service will not scrutinise claims of embezzlement by military intelligence officers during the first Fico government (2006-10).

The parliamentary committee that oversees the military intelligence service will not scrutinise claims of embezzlement by military intelligence officers during the first Fico government (2006-10).

The decision to drop any investigation was made by MPs from Prime Minister Robert Fico's ruling Smer party, who have a majority on the committee. Smer MP and committee member Daniel Duchoň told the Sme daily that the committee is not an investigative body, and that it had already exceeded its competences anyway.

The head of the committee, Martin Fedor, an MP for the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union SDKÚ), and ex-defence minister Ľubomír Galko of the opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party expressed outrage at the move. Galko is collecting signatures for the dismissal of the current Defence Minister Martin Glváč. The committee heard four witnesses, three of whom testified against military intelligence officials. The case is being investigated by the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

The committee voted to halt the investigation after two weeks of looking into the case, including a visit by committee members to the Defence Ministry, Sme wrote on May 31.

The alleged embezzlement involved dubious transfers and sales of properties purchased by both the then military intelligence services, the Military Intelligence Service (VSS) and Military Defence Intelligence (VOS) counter-intelligence agency (which have since been merged into a single agency, Military Intelligence VS).

A 134-page report published by Sme on May 16 alleged large-scale embezzlement of public funds by employees at the VSS under the first Fico government; Sme says it received the document anonymously, and that it is probably based on an internal investigation into the VSS that started under Galko, who was defence minister in 2010-11.

The report includes information about the purchase and reconstruction of an expensive residential property in Bratislava, which the state later sold at a loss to a former VSS officer. Both of the then heads of the two military intelligence agencies – Juraj Šebo of the VSS and Ľubomír Skuhra of the VOS – allegedly knew about the transactions. The VSS and VOS have since been merged into a single agency, Military Intelligence (VS), now led by Skuhra. Minister Glváč has stated publicly that there was no embezzlement and that the whole affair is a media hoax.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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