Former owner of TV station allegedly ordered murder of his business partner

Ex-TV Markiza head and former politician Pavol Rusko was arrested as a murder suspect

Pavol RuskoPavol Rusko (Source: Sme)

The former owner of the commercial broadcaster TV Markíza and politician, Pavol Rusko, has been arrested by the police due to the suspicion that he ordered the murder of his former business partner Sylvia Volzová via the criminal underworld back in 1997, the sme.sk website reported on October 23. Sources close to the investigation confirmed this information for the Sme daily. The case is being investigated by the National Criminal Agency (NAKA).

NAKA started investigating based on a criminal complaint lodged by former Banská Bystrica crime boss Mikuláš Černák, who is currently serving a life sentence for other mafia murders.

In total, four people were charged on October 23 and one person was detained. The other three accused are gang members Mikuláš Černák, Róbert Lališ and Miloš Kaštan.

Černák is cooperating

In 2015, Černák announced from prison that he would gradually testify about all the murders in which he was involved, as his sentence to life imprisonment cannot be increased but by cooperating during the investigation he could be granted conditional release after 25 years behind bars. In December, it will be 20 years since he reported to the police and was taken into custody.

“Rusko said that this would be well paid and that there was a lot at stake for him,” said Černák in the criminal complaint about the murder.

He described how Rusko contacted him sometime in October or November 1997 with a request to liquidate his business partner, with whom he had had conflicts at Markíza for a long time. Allegedly Rusko offered him a reward of Sk2 20 million (more than €663,800). At that time Rusko and Volzová each held one half of the company, Markíza Slovakia, that operated the private TV station.

Read also:Will Černák state the truth? Read more 

The plan appears to have been, based on the investigation so-far, that the underworld would kidnap Volzová, force her to re-write the share agreement in favour of another person in front of a notary and kill her.

This action was interrupted by the arrest of Černák in December 1997.

Volzová, who has been living in Germany since 1973, has already testified. She confirmed that at that time she feared for her security as strange people were moving around her home.

She started some of her activities in Slovakia after the fall of the communist regime in 1989. During the start of the operation of Markíza in 1994 her aim was to win an investor and help to get the licence.

Her relations with Rusko worsened in 1997. This was before the Gamatex case, when the then, little-known businessman with ties to the underworld, Marián Kočner, attempted to take over Markíza. Volzová supported Kočner in this case.

After the case was over, she withdrew from Slovakia. In 2001, with the silent agreement of Rusko who held her option for a stake in Markíza, she sold it to Ján Kováčik.

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