Former VSS official alleges bullying related to alleged embezzlement case

A former officer in Slovakia's Military Intelligence Service (VSS), Lieutenant Katarína Svrčeková, has come forward in the wake of the ongoing case of alleged embezzlement at the agency to allege that she was subjected to bullying. "I became a victim of bullying, threats, discrimination and brutal pressure," Svrčeková said on June 13.

A former officer in Slovakia's Military Intelligence Service (VSS), Lieutenant Katarína Svrčeková, has come forward in the wake of the ongoing case of alleged embezzlement at the agency to allege that she was subjected to bullying. "I became a victim of bullying, threats, discrimination and brutal pressure," Svrčeková said on June 13.

Svrčeková, who began working at the VSS in 2010, said she believes that the treatment she received was directly related to the alleged embezzlement at the institution during Prime Minister Robert Fico's first government (2006-10). The lieutenant claimed that she had no knowledge of the suspected corrupt practices, but she "became a target of pressure aimed at preventing the truth from becoming known."

She went on to say that she believes she was targeted because she was a close friend of Roman Mikulec, the head of the VSS under Ľubomír Galko, a Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) nominee who was defence minister in 2010-11. "I went through four security screenings between March 2012 and November 2012 carried out in an extraordinarily humiliating way. They ... accused [Mikulec] of buying a flat for me, which wasn't true. They addressed me with vulgarisms and imposed brutal pressure on me. The purpose of these talks was to find something on Mikulec. At that time I didn't know about the existence of any documents on embezzlement. But I've come to understand now what the true purpose behind this was," said Svrčeková, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Following the last of the interrogations in November 2012, Svrčeková decided to report her treatment to then VSS head Robert Tibenský. But instead of investigating the matter, Tibenský, who now serves as deputy director of the VSS's successor, Military Intelligence (VS), offered Svrčeková a job in the VS and a promotion, the lieutenant claimed. She said that she declined the offer and asked her superiors to be released from the service, but without success. She was transferred to a military unit in Rožňava (Košice Region) instead, even though she lacked the appropriate experience for the job.

When she asked Defence Minister Martin Glváč for assistance, he responded, she said, that "he was not in a position to make Skuhra [the VS head] and Tibenský obey his orders." After meeting Fico as her next resort, she was again not allowed to resign and was transferred after a couple of months to Trebišov (Košice Region), where she is now obliged to serve as a platoon commander, according to TASR.

The lieutenant was presented earlier in the day to the media by Galko, who said that he is convinced that Glváč has no real control over the VS and that his agents are engaged in persecuting their own people, opening secret files and taking intimate information from them.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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