Court sentences Kočner and Rusko to 19 years in prison

Specialised Criminal Court found Marian Kočner and Pavol Rusko guilty in the promissory notes case.

Marian Kočner arrives at the courtroom on February 27, 2020. Marian Kočner arrives at the courtroom on February 27, 2020. (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubco)

Marian Kočner and Pavol Rusko are guilty of forging promissory notes.

The Specialised Criminal Court delivered its verdict in the closely-watched trial that took 25 trial days, on February 27, two days before Slovakia votes in the parliamentary election.

In this unprecedented case, Kočner and Rusko stood accused of forging promissory notes, which Kočner used to obtain €69 million from the current owner of Markíza in 2016.

The Threema app messages secured from his phone suggest that he also used his influence over some judges, some of whom have since faced disciplinary proceedings. Others have stepped down.

The court issued a 19-year prison sentence in a maximum security prison to both Kočner and Rusko. Kočner must also pay a financial fine of €10,000. The prosecutor demanded 20 years in prison for both and a fine of €300,000 for Kočner.

The verdict is not effective yet; Rusko and Kočner can appeal against it and turn it over to the Supreme Court.

Court: Threema is true

The verdict was delivered on the 25th day of the trial, February 27, 2020, by the senate chair, Judge Emil Klemanič. In the reasoning, he also addressed the complaints of the defendants that were based on their conspiracy theories and accusations that the court favoured the plaintiff side.

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