Controversial businessman Marián Kočner, one of the main characters featured in the stories of the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak, is collecting private information about a Sme daily investigative reporter, Adam Valček. The Sme daily has posted information about this on its website.
Valček is working on a story about the Technopol case together with his colleague from the Trend weekly, Zuzana Petková. Kočner reportedly earned the equivalent of half a million euros from the transaction that followed the hostile takeover of the Technopol company. Sme and Trend published the investigative report on May 31.
When the reporters approached Kočner to give his reaction to the information they had unearthed, it followed briefly along the lines that he did not trust the mainstream media. He signed his answer, "he who never, never, threatened any journalist".
Three hours later Kočner sent another e-mail to Sme, asking for details about Valček’s health and family, "for a website being prepared about mainstream journalists". Sme noted that some of the information that Kočner was seeking pertains to information that cannot be gained from publicly available sources.
Sme Editor-in-Chief Beata Balogová called Kočner’s conduct threatening to the journalist and an attack on press freedom.
"The fact that Adam Valček is looking into suspicious deals made by Kočner is in the public interest, while his collection of personal information is not," Balogová said, as quoted by Sme. "Quite to the contrary, it is suggestive of the methods used by a person who has threatened journalists before."
Balogová believes the prosecution bodies should carefully scrutinise Kočner’s activities.
Kuciak was threatened for the same story
Valček and Petková worked on the story as part of the #allforjan initiative that has gathered together investigative reporters who want to continue the work of Kuciak. When Kuciak, who was found murdered together with his fiancee Martina Kusnirova on February 26, worked on the story, he also experienced threats from Kočner.
Kočner told Kuciak on the phone that he would start taking an interest in his mother, his father, his siblings, and publish all the information that he could find about them.
Kuciak filed a criminal complaint against Kočner but the police repeatedly dismissed it.
Kočner has previously been known to verbally attack journalists. In 2016 he published a file containing e-mails and messages that were exchanged between the former journalist and current politician Gabor Grendel and several Slovak journalists.
1. Jun 2018 at 6:20 | Compiled by Spectator staff