Mečiar a witness in the case of a former Privatisation Ministry employee

VLADIMÍR Mečiar was a witness in the case of Ivan Beňačka, a former employee of the now-defunct Privatisation Ministry, who is accused of blackmailing in Mečiar’s name. Beňačka allegedly called himself Mečiar’s friend and a SIS agent.

VLADIMÍR Mečiar was a witness in the case of Ivan Beňačka, a former employee of the now-defunct Privatisation Ministry, who is accused of blackmailing in Mečiar’s name. Beňačka allegedly called himself Mečiar’s friend and a SIS agent.

Mečiar already came to the case for the third time.

“My answer to the aggrieved entrepreneurs was and is that Ivan B. was neither my advisor nor a close person to me,” Mečiar said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He continued that he has never asked him to blackmail in his name, and stressed he does not know Beňačka personally and has never been in contact with him.

According to Mečiar, he and Beňačka met only twice: once with students and the other time at TV Markíza.

“I have never asked anybody for money through him,” the former three-time prime minister said, as quoted by TASR.

He added that the accused lied about him and that he has certainly not cooperated with the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency.

“I have been in politics for a long time and I have never used violence,” Mečiar stressed, as quoted by TASR.

Aside from Mečiar, the court also heard other witnesses, including one of the blackmailed businessmen Igor Klátik.

Another blackmailed entrepreneur was Marián Kočner. In this case Beňačka introduced himself as a SIS agent and claimed money from him for protection in municipal elections, TASR wrote. When he refused to give it to him, Beňačka started to send him menacing short messages. The police detained him when he was taking a bribe for SK5 million (€165,969). The money was provided by the police, the Sme daily reported.

The Bratislava I District Court already sentenced Beňačka to 10 years in prison in November 2009. However, the ruling was dismissed by the Regional Court in July 2010. The new proceeding started only this September. One of the reasons was that one of the judges died, as reported by TASR.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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