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Sme: Judges in Salmanov case under investigation

A new investigation into suspicions of corruption around the Salmanov tycoons will also focus on judges who ruled in a case of theirs in the past. The Special Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on August 16 that the investigation has just begun, but that nobody has been indicted yet, the Sme daily reported.

A new investigation into suspicions of corruption around the Salmanov tycoons will also focus on judges who ruled in a case of theirs in the past. The Special Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on August 16 that the investigation has just begun, but that nobody has been indicted yet, the Sme daily reported.

“If the obtained evidence will be sufficient to lay charges against the judges, we will proceed in a lawful way,” spokesperson for the Office of the Special Prosecutor Andrea Predajňová told Sme.

The daily wrote that one of the judges to be investigated might be Vlastimil P. who was the head of the Justice Ministry’s Office back when Supreme Court Chairman Štefan Harabin, a nominee of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), was at the ministry’s helm. He started his job at the ministry in June 2007, shortly after he upheld a ruling in a legal dispute on reimbursement of illegal alcohol involving the firm of Sergei Salmanov.

The police are now looking into suspicions that the judges involved in the case had been bribed. All the judges under investigation are still at their posts. One investigation file mentions the name of a judge through whom the Salmanovs allegedly used to “arrange things”. They gave her daughter a job in their firm in 2007, Sme reported.

The judge in question handed down a decision in 2011 that benefitted Harabin in his legal dispute against Sme, and granted him reimbursement for non-pecuniary damages of one million Slovak crowns. She has since made it onto the Supreme Court, and her daughter has become a higher court official, Sme wrote.

Supreme Court justice Peter Paluda told Sme in an earlier interview that those of his colleagues who accept bribes have coalesced around Harabin. Harabin said that if he suspects judges of accepting bribes, he is free to file a criminal motion against them. Paluda now is now facing a possible disciplinary prosecution for his statements.

The police arrested Alexandr Salmanov and his father Sergei in mid April. An investigator with the National Criminal Agency charged them with bribery. Sergei Salmanov is accused of fraudulently transferring shares in a firm, AB Cosmetics, from entrepreneur Ľubomír Somorovský to himself, according to Sme, which reported that a court had ruled that the transfer was not in line with the law and returned the shares to Somorovský.

The courts are likely to decide over the request of Sergei Salmanov to be released from custody in the coming weeks. The Supreme Court should also decide over the special appeal in the case of illegal alcohol, in which Salmanov’s company NASK received financial compensation worth nearly €30 million.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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