Tycoon Milan Fiľo did not know about the promissory notes

The promissory notes case involving Marian Kočner and ex-TV Markíza owner Pavol Rusko continued on November 5.

Oligarch Milan Fiľo testifies in court in the promissory notes case on November 5, 2019Oligarch Milan Fiľo testifies in court in the promissory notes case on November 5, 2019 (Source: TASR)

The case of allegedly forged promissory notes worth some €69 million continued on November 5 when more witnesses were heard.

“I have never heard of the promissory notes,” businessman and former TV Markíza co-owner Milan Fiľo said in court, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

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Fiľo sold his share in 2006 to Ján Kováčik, the former owner of the Forza company. Kováčik testified on October 17 and cast doubt on the existence of the promissory notes, too. Yet, his testimony differed from the one previously given to investigators, the Sme daily wrote.

Another witness heard on November 5 was Sme journalist Nina Sobotovičová and businessman František Mojto.

The case began in late July 2019, and a number of witnesses have been questioned, including all former and current TV Markíza general managers. None of them confirmed the existence of the promissory notes. One person that confirmed she had known about the promissory notes is Rusko's wife, Viera, but she never saw them.

Mojto’s altruism

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“As far as the promissory notes go, I absolutely did not know anything until 2016, when the media informed about them,” Mojto said, as quoted by Sme.

Mojto was asked to testify because Marian Kočner and Pavol Rusko, who are suspected of forging the promissory notes, claim they had negotiated about the sale of TV Markíza for SKK300 million (about €10 milllion). Mojto rejected their claim in court.

He added, though, that he knows Kočner and Rusko, saying he also met Kočner’s business partner Štefan Agh, with whom Kočner owned the Gamatex company in the late 1990s. The company obtained a share in TV Markíza in 1998 by purchasing for a small sum a claim from the ESPE štúdio company against TV Markíza, and it eventually took over the channel. The dispute over the ownership of the channel ended by Rusko reportedly signing the promissory notes in 2000.

Mojto also claimed he met with Kočner in 1998 to discuss a loan of €35 million, proposed by Kočner and Agh, which Mojto was supposed to grant to Kočner.

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“If I can, I will help,” Mojto said when answering why he decided to give the loan, as quoted by Sme. He did not want to own or co-own the licence for TV Markíza but rather provide the loan in the first place, he added.

However, Mojto could have wanted to help Gamatex with the cheap loan because he needed a stable TV channel, too. TV Markíza bought television programs worth millions of euros from Mojto’s production company Telefilm.

Promissory notes not in the thesis

Sobotovičová, who wrote a bachelor thesis on Gamatex in 2017, also testified.

Back in early 2017, she interviewed Rusko and Kočner. However, they did not mention the TV Markíza promissory notes to her, either. Rusko only told her about a different set of promissory notes.

The signatures of Kočner and Rusko are, however, recorded in her thesis, confirming the content of their interviews, Sme wrote.

Kočner doubted her competence in court.

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