Controversial businessman Marian Kočner, who is charged with falsifying promissory notes worth €69 million that concern private broadcaster TV Markíza, will be sent into collusive custody so that he will not be able to influence the investigation.
The Specialised Criminal Court decided to place Kočner in the most stringent form of custody on December 20. At the same time, it also extended it to April 28, 2019, the Sme daily reported.
Kočner plans to complain to the Supreme Court. However, this does not mean that the court will postpone his custody until the final decision is adopted, Sme wrote.
Attempts to influence investigation
The businessman’s efforts to influence the investigation were described in an anonymous letter received by several media outlets on December 19. It claims that Kočner gave his lawyer Andrej Šabík letters with instructions for the former Slovak Information Service (SIS) agent Peter Tóth. The lawyer reportedly hid them in the investigation file.
Tóth is said to have followed the instructions to address influential people to help Kočner. This includes, according to Sme, Nitra-based businessman Norbert Bödör who was to have secured his release via Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik.
Tóth has responded by saying that the information comes from an anonymous source and its aim is to discredit him.
While Šabík has refuted this claim, the police have already confirmed the existence of the letters. They seized them back in November, according to Sme.
What is collusive custody?
Collusive custody is the most stringent form of restriction of personal freedom. The accused person is under the strict supervision of the prosecutor. While the accused is usually allowed to meet with their lawyers without the presence of a third person, in collusive custody every meeting has to be approved by the prosecutor or the court. Moreover, they can send their own representative to attend the meeting, Sme wrote.
The prosecutor also needs to give permission for the visits and can be present at them. This includes visits from a cleric, with the exception of visits from the prison cleric.
As for mail, a person held in collusive custody must have their mail sent via the prosecutor or the court. Moreover, phone calls must have their approval, and a third person needs to be present.
In addition, people in collusive custody cannot request relocation to a prison with a more moderate regime, Sme wrote.
20. Dec 2018 at 22:22 | Compiled by Spectator staff