Police detective from VAT case felt obstacles

Among Slovak police, fear prevails, according to a former investigator involved in a vast VAT refund scandal.

Ministers Ján Počiatek (l) and Robert KaliňákMinisters Ján Počiatek (l) and Robert Kaliňák (Source: Sme)

The wide-spread fear is connected also with the fact that cases are not solved due to political nominations of senior functionaries, ex-police investigator Pavol Milan said in an interview for the Sme daily.

Milan had led a team that investigated one of the biggest cases concerning excessive VAT refunds until 2014, in which also the names of ministers Ján Počiatek (originally finance, then transport, now outgoing) and Robert Kaliňák (then and now interior) appeared.

The main defendant in the case, businessman Milan Chovanec, said in his testimony that top political representatives were helping conceal frauds worth tens of millions of euros. Milan resigned from the police in 2014, due to obstacles he felt in his work and also because he did not have the support of his superiors. When asked why the most serious cases including frauds with VAT refunds, or the Gorilla file, have not been wrapped up yet, Milan commented that this is due to our stance and morals, as we have identified innately with the fact that the system simply has to be that corrupt and that it can work only this way. The whole issue stems from our fear and indifference, Milan summed up.

The former investigator said that already in November 2011, he interrogated a witness who testified that top politicians of the ruling Smer party were involved. Later, suspicions involving top Smer members increased. First, his superiors seemed to be Okay with his findings, but later started to get interested.

Milan concluded, however, that he left the police and abandoned the investigation before he was able to check deeply into the Smer suspicions.

The Presidium of the Police Corps repeatedly refuses suggestions by Pavol Milan that someone put pressure on him during his investigation of the case; claiming that investigators are independent in the process and are only overseen by a prosecutor. On the contrary, when he asked to be released from the Police Corps, he was asked by his superiors to stay, the TASR newswire quoted the Presidium. 

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