Charges brought against a police officer who surveilled journalists

All three men detained in late September have been released.

Michal Zubčák leaving the hearing concerning the surveillance of journalists.Michal Zubčák leaving the hearing concerning the surveillance of journalists. (Source: TASR)

The investigator of the Interior Ministry’s inspection service has brought charges against Pavol Vorobjov, a former head of the financial police’s intelligence unit who has surveilled several journalists, including the murdered Ján Kuciak.

Vorobjov has been accused of abusing the powers of a public official and of the unauthorised use of personal data, the TASR newswire reported.

All three men released

Vorobjov was detained during a police operation on September 26, together with incumbent Deputy Head of the National Criminal Agency’s (NAKA) Financial Unit Milan Mihálik and police officer Michal Zubčák.

While the two were released shortly after the hearing, Vorobjov spent a night in jail. He was released on September 27, and left without a police escort, the private broadcaster TV JOJ reported on its website.

Although he told journalists he had not been charged, the Interior Ministry confirmed for TV JOJ that the investigator had brought charges against a person suspected of abusing the powers of a public official and the unauthorised use of personal data.

Related articlePolice officer surveilling journalists detained Read more 

The broadcaster identified this person as Vorobjov.

Investigation still underway

As for Zubčák, the Interior Ministry said that he had been detained under the suspicion of threatening confidential and classified information. He may have carried out searches in the Interior Ministry’s information system in an unauthorised way.

He has not been accused yet, the ministry told TV JOJ. Mihálik has not been charged either.

However, the investigation against them is still underway.

“This operation wasn’t connected to the unauthorised surveillance of 28 journalists, where the necessary procedural steps are still being carried out,” said Petra Friese of the Interior Ministry, as quoted by TASR.

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