Did Italian businessman and alleged mafia boss Antonino Vadala really bribe Slovak police officers and agents of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency, together with its ex-head Ján Valko?
These suspicions, reported by the Italian public-service broadcaster RAI, have been scrutinised by the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the Sme daily reported.
The Italian broadcaster based its news from March 30 on reports from a concealed Italian police agent 8067, who infiltrated Vadala’s group, which was investigated for drug trafficking.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office evaluated the information as “suspicion of fundamental corruption criminal activity”, said its spokesperson Jana Tökölyová. The Office turned to the National Anti-Corruption Unit with further instructions, Sme wrote.
Meanwhile, the police promised to cooperate. They are looking into the information that appeared in the media, their spokesperson Michal Slivka confirmed for Sme.
What is the report about?
Vadala has been doing business in Slovakia for years. The police detained him last year in connection with the drug trafficking investigation being carried out in Italy. The relations between Vadala and people close to former prime minister Robert Fico (Smer) are featured in the unfinished last story of journalist Ján Kuciak, who was killed with his fiancée in February 2018.
RAI published a document from the investigation concerning Vadala’s involvement in an international drug trafficking cartel. Vadala tells an undercover police officer about him bribing Slovak customs officers, police officers and intelligence agents. He also boasted about his good contacts with politicians, Sme wrote.
The Italian police intercepted Vadala from October 12, 2014 to December 22, 2015. In that period, investigators noted 452 phone calls between Vadala and Mária Trošková, who served as the assistant of former Smer MP Viliam Jasaň, and later as the right hand of former prime minister Robert Fico (Smer).
Sme published several excerpts from the conversation.
Fico not commenting
Politicians and some people featured in the RAI report responded to the suspicions. In an interview with Sme, Valko refuted the claims that Vadala had contacted him or that the two had met. He also denied suspicions that he had been working for Vadala.
SIS also issued a statement, claiming that “it does not comment on various pieces of information published by the media abroad or on potential media speculations”, its spokesperson Branislav Zvara told Sme.
Fico has not commented on the wiretapped conversation yet, and neither has PM Peter Pellegrini. Smer deputy chair Richard Raši said that he does not believe the Italians, Sme wrote.
Smer MP Juraj Blanár said he will wait for the results of the investigation.
3. Apr 2019 at 13:47 | Compiled by Spectator staff