“Slovak media represent the biggest threat to democracy,” said Smer chair Robert Fico during his March 20 press conference, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
It was his first meeting with journalists in the past three weeks.
He reiterated that he did not talk to the Italian businessman and alleged mafia boss Antonino Vadala in 2012, as has been reported by the Italian daily La Repubblica in February. Vadala is heavily featured in the last story written by murdered journalist Ján Kuciak.
Fico presented to journalists a letter from Juraj Novocký, a prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor's Office, to prove his claim. However, he did not show them the original communication between the Slovak authorities and Italian prosecutors, as reported by the Sme daily.Investigative centre: Fico spoke on the phone with Vadala years ago Read more
In addition, Fico completely avoided commenting on the presidential elections and the government's proposals, including the rejection of US financial assistance, expected to be invested in the modernisation of military airports, TASR wrote.
The prosecutor's letter
Fico requested prosecutor Novocký provide him with a record of his business trip to the Italian region of Calabria, as reported by TASR.
“Regarding the existence of direct telephone conversations between Antonino Vadala and former PM Robert Fico, we can say that there is no record of a call from 2012 in the case file concerning Antonino Vadala,” Novotný wrote to Fico in the letter, as quoted by TASR.
Thus, Italy did not tap Vadala's phone and as a result, Italian investigators do not possess any recorded conversations between Fico and him, Novocký added in the letter.
Attack on the mediaItalian journalist: Slovak police have been investigating Vadala since 2013 Read more
After Fico showed the letter to media, he continued to attack them. A legal team, which will monitor the behaviour of journalists and eventually file criminal complaints against them, has been set up, Fico claimed. Fico also demanded an apology from journalists, as reported by TASR.
“You break the law,” Fico claimed, as quoted by TASR. “Nothing gives you the right to write anything about the contacts of Smer officials with such people [Italian mafia].”
Fico will not move out
The Smer chair briefly commented on his potential relocation from a flat in the Bonaparte residence complex. It was owned by businessman Ladislav Bašternák, who was sentenced to imprisonment and lost part of his property last week.
“You always wanted me to have a different owner,” Fico said. “Today, the state is the owner of the flat I live in.”
Fico is now waiting for the “new owner” to come and talk to him, according to his own words.