Trend journalists interrogated on defamation of Interior Minister

One of the charged reporters, Zuzana Petková, considers the examination as intimidation of journalists who focus on VAT causes.

Interior Minister Robert KaliňákInterior Minister Robert Kaliňák(Source: Sme)

Trend weekly journalists, Zuzana Petková and Xénia Makarová, underwent an examination conducted by the National Crime Agency (NAKA). They were questioned mainly with regard to the possible defamation of the Interior Minister, Robert Kaliňák in the newspaper’s stories about the involvement of politicians in an international VAT fraud scheme between 2007-2011. Investigator Slavomír Laho spent several hours questioning the journalists, mainly about their sources and the methods with which they verified disclosed information.

Petková considers the beginning of the examination, based on the criminal complaint submitted by Kaliňák and former transport minister Ján Počiatek, without a statement from the media, to be the intimidation of journalists who focus on VAT causes.

“At first I asked to put into record that I do not trust the investigator Laho and also NAKA which is subordinate to Kaliňák’s ministry,” said Petková, as quoted by the Denník N daily.

Read also:Smer ministers allegedly tied to VAT fraud

During the examination, the investigator did not know the answer to the recurring question of which factual statement in the article he deemed as defamatory, Petková explained.

“Finally, he said that he upbraids us mainly for the caricature on the cover which together with the article portrays a picture  that could harm Kaliňák and Počiatek,” Petková said.

Soňa Juríčková  also participated in the examination. She has in the past accused Petková of defamation for articles on the wage of judge Štefan Harabin, Denník N wrote.

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