The police will look into activities of imprisoned businessman Marian Kočner, accused of ordering the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak, at the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (ÚPSVaR).
The decision came after the former head of the department of people in need and social allowances at ÚPSVaR, Juraj Škríp, reportedly admitted to being part of the group that had carried out the surveillance of journalists, the Denník N daily informed.Read also:Read more
Škríp subsequently decided to leave the job at ÚPSVaR on May 20 without stating any reason, ÚPSVaR spokesperson Jana Lukáčová told the Sme daily.
In addition, ÚPSVaR has already filed a criminal complaint against its former employee.
Social worker sent to journalist
Back in summer 2017, Škríp allegedly sent a social worker from ÚPSVaR to the house of journalist Monika Tódová, who is working for Denník N, to check whether data about her are up to date in the ÚPSVaR database.
“We are assigned to do random checks once in six months,” said the social worker, as quoted by Sme. “I have no idea why he chose you.”
When the social worker said “he” it was a reference to Škríp, Tódová said. She recorded the conversation with the social worker on the phone.
Yet the social worker was not influenced by anyone, claimed ÚPSVaR, as reported by Sme.
“At the time Juraj Škríp resolutely denied that he would have intervened in the choice of a client at the Bratislava office,” said Lukáčová, as quoted by Sme.Read also:Read more
Access to sensitive information
Although during an inspection a social worker can only access basic information, including a name, address, birth date and the like, as department head Škríp had access to more sensitive and detailed information he could have misused, Sme wrote.
For instance, at his department he could learn what car and property Tódová owned in 2017. If Kočner had been in contact with Škríp, the businessman could have accessed any records without any trace.
Apart from Tódová, former journalist Zuzana Petková, Sme journalist Adam Valček and the Aktuality.sk website's journalist Marek Vagovič were surveilled.
No one has been detained or accused yet in the case of the surveillance of journalists.
29. May 2019 at 14:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff