Former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik has become the first high-ranking official who served during the era of the Smer-led governments to receive a guilty verdict on corruption charges.
He was sentenced to 14 years in prison for accepting a bribe and leaking documents related to ongoing investigations. His property will also be forfeited, the Sme daily reported.
The verdict is a bit stricter than originally proposed by the prosecutor. He wanted Kováčik to unconditionally spend 13 years in prison.
The verdict was delivered by Specialised Criminal Court Judge Pamela Záleská on September 20. According to the verdict, Kováčik not only accepted the bribes, but also cooperated with an organised crime group and exploited his power as a special prosecutor when he leaked information from ongoing investigations.
She also accepted the testimonies of cooperating defendants as relevant evidence. This is an important decision as cooperating defendants are testifying in several corruption cases involving former representatives of Smer-led governments, and both Smer and its chair Robert Fico are casting doubt on their reliability.
Kováčik has appealed against the verdict, meaning it is not valid yet. It will be decided by the Supreme Court.
What were the charges about?
Kováčik’s charges are related to the Takáčovci gang, from which he allegedly took a bribe of €50,000. He received the money for helping to release from prison the then head of the group, Ľubomír Kudlička, according to the prosecution.