News digest: Former PM met with people close to corruption scandals

Košice and Bratislava finally get highway connection - via Hungary. Supreme Court hands editor-in-chief of Zem a Vek magazine €4,000 fine.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Here is the Tuesday, October 26 edition of Today in Slovakia – the main news of the day in a five-minute read.

Former top politicians filmed meeting people linked to corruption scandals

A video has emerged showing former PM Robert Fico (Smer) and former interior minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer) meeting with attorney Marek Para, businessman Norbert Bödör’s father Miroslav, and Pavol Gašpar, son of former police chief Tibor Gašpar.

The Special Prosecutor's Office said it believes the meetings were held as part of attempts by those present to influence investigations into, and prosecution of, a number of cases of alleged corruption. The people at the recorded meetings can be heard discussing cases and press conferences.

General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka has since ordered an inquiry into the leak of the recordings as a possible attempt to pervert the course of justice and abuse of power by a public official.

"I consider the disclosure of evidence and information from files in preparatory proceedings beyond [the investigations‘] legal framework to be an absolutely unacceptable attempt to influence the decision-making of law enforcement authorities and courts, thwart the investigations, but also to manipulate public opinion," Žilinka wrote on Facebook.

Fico has since admitted that he met lawyers and relatives of people he considers innocent of alleged crimes. He wants his Smer party to propose that parliament discuss the recordings during the current parliamentary session, and said that General Prosecutor Žilinka, Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipšic, and Interior Minister Roman Mikulec, should be called to parliament for the discussion. He claimed that wiretapping a leader of the opposition was unprecedented within the European Union – something he would be bringing to the attention of the European Commission.

An investigator from the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) from the Očistec (Purgatory) team has filed a criminal complaint with the Inspectorare of the Interior Ministry in connection with the leaking of the recordings.


Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 2,850 people tested positive out of 15,341 Covid-19 PCR tests carried out on Monday. The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 rose to 1,302 while there were 18 further deaths from the disease reported on Tuesday. The vaccination rate stands at 45.28 percent; 2,490,134 people have received at least a first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • According to latest data, the third wave of the pandemic has claimed 70 victims so far. Of people who died with very serious pneumonia caused by coronavirus, 81.5 percent were not vaccinated. (noviny.sk)
  • The European Medicines Agency has approved a third, booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine Spikevax (Moderna) for people aged 18 years and above.
  • Registration for Covid-19 vaccine third doses in Slovakia are now available. People aged 55+ who had a second dose at least 6 months ago are being sent text messages informing them they are eligible for a third dose as well as a PIN code they can use to register at vakcinacia.nczisk.sk.

Photo of the day

As of today, there is an unbroken highway connection between Košice and Bratislava. A new 57-kilometre-long stretch of the M30 highway in Hungary between Miskolc and Tornyosnémeti near the Slovak border officially went into use today. From the border crossing in Milhosť, drivers continue on the R4 highway to Košice.


Feature story of the day

Oli Džupinková, a popular radio host in Slovakia, calls herself a proud Rusyn woman. Yet she admits that she only became aware of her Rusyn identity after she left eastern Slovakia and moved to the capital on the other side of the country.

Since then, she has embraced her Rusyn identity, including as part of a business venture - in 2018 she published a book of original recipes of Rusyn food as cooked by her mom.

With her mom’s recipes, popular radio host taught Slovaks to cook Rusyn meals Read more 

If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.


In other news

  • The Supreme Court has yet to decide on a date for an appeal hearing for Marian Kotleba, leader of the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), who was last year given a jail sentence over his use of a neo-Nazi symbol. He had handed out cheques for €1,488 – a number widely seen as linked to neo-Nazi ideology - to poor families at a public event.
  • A court ordered Slovak MEP and far-right politician Milan Uhrík to erase three statements from a social media status in which he attacked scientist Pavol Čekan.
  • The number of rental apartments on the market in Bratislava is higher than those for sale. Peter Ondrovič of real estate agency Lexxus said that flats for sale make up only 40 percent of flats on the market in the capital.
  • More than 5,000 people in Slovakia filed for personal bankruptcy in the first nine months of the year. Most of them were from areas in Nitra, Banská Bystrica and Prešov. Bratislava had the least. (Dun&Bradstreet)
  • The editor-in-chief of Zem a Vek magazine, Tibor Eliot Rostas, was handed a €4,000 fine by the Supreme Court for defamation of a nation, race, or faith. The ruling cannot be appealed. If Rostas does not pay the fine, he will serve a three-month jail sentence. Rostas was not in the court as the sentence was handed down, as he had been barred from the courtroom for refusing to wear a mask.
  • The Bratislava region is home to the highest number of shopping centres and retail parks in the country. People in the capital visit them not just for shopping, but also for entertainment and relaxation.

Do not miss on Spectator.sk today

Long-standing frame of Železná Studnička restaurant is history, building was removed Read more  Pumpkin! Worms! Action! What to do with your pumpkin after Halloween Read more  What is next for philanthropy? Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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