MORE recorded phone conversations involving journalist Tom Nicholson have been leaked. After the first recording, which contained Nicholson’s conversation with a colleague from the Sme daily, was delivered to Sme, several more recordings were made public on the internet.
The recordings were published anonymously on a website that suggested Nicholson was on friendly terms with Juraj Ondrejčák, the alleged mobster and leader of the Piťovci gang.
Nicholson denied being friendly with Ondrejčák and said he considered it to be a well-organised attempt to discredit him, he wrote on the Facebook page of his Pod povrchom civic association. As an investigative journalist he had contacts with figures from the underworld, and as a result published several articles and interviews featuring these people, he said.
Nicholson also said he was convinced all the published calls were made in November 2010.
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 his Sme colleague 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, Ernest Valko, who was shot and killed on November 8, 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.
Nicholson, however, does not find the explanation satisfactory.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák admitted the ministry was checking on the recordings, saying that so far they have not identified any of them.
Kaliňák views the wiretapping case as motivation to finalise the new interception system that would make tracking down leaked recordings easier, the TASR newswire reported.
“Although it scares me that my phone was evidently tapped and the recordings are now public, […], I have nothing to hide,” Nicholson wrote.
11. Nov 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff