News digest: Organised group charges against more influential people

Chief hygienist rejects the prosecutors' protests. New highway stretch opens near Žilina.

DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Bratislava (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

This is the Friday, January 29, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

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Check out the Spectacular Slovakia roundup for weekend reading tips:

Spectacular Slovakia roundupDr Jo, Slovak trailblazer who changed English football, has died at 84 Read more 

More people with ties to Smer arrested

The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) detained nine persons as part of its Toll Collector operation on Friday morning. Former head of the Financial Administration, František Imrecze, is one of them.

The police reportedly also pressed charges against influential entrepreneur Jozef Brhel, whom the media have described as one of the oligarchs behind Smer. They accused him of acting as the head of an organised criminal group, of which Imrecze and another detained entrepreneur, Michal Suchoba, were members.

Also on Friday, the Special Prosecutor's Office announced they have seized the property of several persons facing charges in other corruption-related cases: former Police Corps president Tibor Gašpar, former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik and businessman Norbert Bödör, the Aktuality news website reported.

Related articleInfluential businessman charged as head of an organised groupRead more 

In other news:

  • Peter Kovařík was appointed president of the Police Corps, despite some past objections from the now ruling parties.
  • The Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) denies having violated the law with the ordinances it has issued.
  • Mass testing is taking place in districts with a higher prevalence of the coronavirus infection. Many municipalities are setting up temporary testing sites for the weekend just like last week.
  • The coronavirus outbreak in the Arcus social care home in Košice has claimed 18 victims. As of Friday, 50 staff and 89 clients tested positive. The director has stepped down. (Korzár)
  • The flu and flu-like infections are on the rise, by 22.9 percent this week compared to the previous week. The Public Health Authority reported 671 cases, mostly in children up to five years of age. (TASR)
  • The Púchov-based production company Continental will lay off dozens of people. It is quitting the production of conveyor belts.
  • The National Highway Company (NDS) opened the 11-kilometre-long D1 Hričovské Podhradie Lietavská Lúčka highway stretch, which also serves as the southern bypass of the northern city of Žilina. The local authorities do not expect it to ease the traffic strain on the city very much, due to the missing stretch that involves the Višňové tunnel. (TASR)

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