JOURNALIST Tom Nicholson’s phone was wiretapped during the government of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, allegedly because of his connection to murdered former Constitutional Court judge Ernest Valko, to whom he taught English, the Sme daily reported on October 31.
Sme received via e-mail a 45-second recording of one of Nicholson’s phone conversations, which they have now identified being with Martin Čorej, the head of the Sme.sk website.
Čorej confirmed that a phone conversation he had with Nicholson in November 2010 may have been recorded. At that time Nicholson was working on a web programme called This Week in Slovakia. Čorej said he and Nicholson may have been discussing the script for the programme, Sme wrote.
That would mean the recording was made when Daniel Lipšic served as interior minister and Jaroslav Spišiak was police president. Both Lipšic and Spišiak claim not to have known about the wiretapping.
The Prosecutor’s Office and current Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák claim that until the facts from the still unsolved murder are de-classified they cannot speak on the case.
Nicholson is a Canadian journalist based in Slovakia who formerly worked as publisher and editor-in-chief of The Slovak Spectator. He went on to become an investigative journalist, breaking several notable stories about alleged corruption. Around the time his phone call with Čorej was recorded, he was starting work on a book about the Gorilla file, a lengthy document that purports to describe an operation conducted by the Slovak Information Service (SIS), the country’s main intelligence agency, in which it collected information about the influence of the Penta financial group on senior Slovak politicians between 2005 and 2006.
Nicholson appears to have been wiretapped legally as part of an investigation into the murder of lawyer and former chair of the Constitutional Court, Valko, who was shot and killed on November 9, 2010. The prosecutor of the special department at the General Prosecutor’s Office and Bratislava I District Court Judge Roland Kemény signed off on the tap, according to documents obtained by Sme.
The explanation for wiretapping Nicholson is that he taught Valko English. The journalist called Valko shortly before his death to arrange the next lesson after a several week break. Valko’s daughter Jana told police Nicholson might have known serious facts that he might have given to her father.
Nicholson says he told police everything he knew about Valko and potential motives. He believes that Valko’s murder was a false pretence for the wiretapping.
4. Nov 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff