Justice Ministry will investigate judge in Cargo case

The Justice Ministry will look into whether a judge of the Bratislava III District Court broke the law when she failed to tell the court about her acquaintance with a defendant of the Cypriot shell company Lancillon, which is suing state-run freight railway carrier Cargo for alleged profit loss. The ministry is now awaiting the motion of Transport Minister Ján Počiatek, the Sme daily reported on July 13.

The Justice Ministry will look into whether a judge of the Bratislava III District Court broke the law when she failed to tell the court about her acquaintance with a defendant of the Cypriot shell company Lancillon, which is suing state-run freight railway carrier Cargo for alleged profit loss. The ministry is now awaiting the motion of Transport Minister Ján Počiatek, the Sme daily reported on July 13.

Every judge has to report possible conflicts of interests in cases they are assigned to. Their superiors decide whether or not they can judge impartially, Slovak laws state. Judge Miriam Repáková was conducting business with lawyer Juraj Krišťák for two years, Sme wrote.

If the inspection of the ministry finds any violation of the law, Repáková could face a disciplinary proceeding, said Pavol Kubík from the Justice Ministry’s press department, as reported by Sme. If it is found that she failed to observe the rules, Repáková’s salary could be reduced or she could be prohibited from serving as a judge, according to the daily.

The justice and transport ministers agreed on the inspection after president of the Bratislava III District Court Tomáš Michálek said he does not see a reason to interfere in the case. Repáková had previously told him she does not feel personally involved in the case. Yet, the Constitutional Court has passed several rulings stating that such a statement is not enough to prove impartiality and that the superiors have to examine all evidence proving that the judge is really not involved, Sme reported.

Lancillon is suing Cargo for €82 million as compensation for profit it allegedly lost during the rule of the Vladimír Mečiar government. The then management ordered an engine prototype, saying that if they were satisfied they would order another 98 of them. The producer, from which Lancillon bought the claim, said that despite Cargo’s dissatisfaction he had the right to receive the money for all 98 engines, Sme wrote.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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