Haščák of Penta detained and accused

Dozens of police officers raided Digital Park, the headquarters of the financial group.

Jaroslav HaščákJaroslav Haščák (Source: Sme/Jozef Jakubčo)

The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) detained Jaroslav Haščák, partner of the Penta financial group, on December 1. The agency did so shortly after an interrogation, to which he was brought in for on December 1, the Sme daily reported.

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Related article Gorilla recording has been leaked online Read more 

Haščák has been charged with corruption and money laundering linked to the Gorilla case, the Aktuality.sk news website reported.

At the same time, dozens of police officers raided the headquarters of Penta in the Digital Park building in Bratislava, armed with submachine guns. Employees were required to leave the building, according to the media reports.

“We don’t understand why it was necessary to enter the building this way,” said Martin Danko, spokesperson of Penta. The raid is linked to the Gorilla corruption case, but there is no reason for it as Penta has been cooperating with police in this case, he added.

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The police transported Haščák to Penta’s building around 17:00. He did not in handcuffs, but was escorted by police officers.

Journalists were asked to leave the premises by the private security service before Haščák’s arrival.

Following his detention, Haščák has renounced his managing powers in Penta. He still remains the group's co-owner.

Detained SIS members

Haščák was accused only several days after former members of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency, Ľubomír Arpáš and František Polák, were taken to custody. They have been charged with blackmailing, money laundering and bribing.

Read also: Q&A: The Gorilla Case Read more 

The Gorilla file, leaked online in late 2011, also contained a commentary describing the situation in the SIS.

It claims that Arpáš sold the Gorilla recordings to Penta in 2007 for more than €130,000. Polák is mentioned in a conversation between police officer Ján Rejda and Zoltán Varga, the owner of the wiretapped flat.

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Politicians respond

Several politicians have commented on Haščák’s detention.

“The mafia is only as strong as the state is weak,” PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) wrote on Facebook.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Juraj Šeliga hopes that we will finally learn the truth about drinking Coca-Cola, referring to the note in the Gorilla file, according to which Smer chair Robert Fico was drinking Coke while meeting Haščák in the wiretapped flat on Vazovova Street.

Related article MPs and information from secret services were for sale. Recording shows Kočner’s world Read more 

His party’s chair and Investments Minister Veronika Remišová has pointed to the connections between Haščák, the Penta group, the Gorilla file and murky businesses with the state.

“We’ve been used to the police and prosecution playing deaf and blind institutions, which often said that ‘the deed did not happen’ when it came to ‘big fish,’” she commented, adding that people decided to stop these practices in the elections.

MEP Michal Šimečka of Progressive Slovakia said that though he is critical of the government, he has to praise the law enforcement bodies being free to act.

“What we’ve been seeing in Slovakia the past few weeks is also unique at the European level,” he commented.

Disclaimer: The Penta financial group has a minority share in Petit Press, the publisher of the Sme daily and the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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