Ex-police Chiefs in Custody Charged With Corruption Linked to Journalist Murder
More than two and a half years after the murder of investigative journalist Mr. Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Ms Martina Kušnírová , a special court in Slovakia has imposed pre-trial detention of ex-police chief.
Former police chief Tibor Gaspar and the ex-heads of key departments of the state police also have to be remanded in custody after Sunday's court decision. The reason given was the risk of influencing witnesses. Since the journalist murder, the Slovak police have been investigating corrupt networks in the judiciary and their own ranks.
The ex-police chiefs were arrested last week and several houses were searched. Initially, neither the public prosecutor nor the court announced what allegations against them in detail were. In media reports after the journalist murder, however, they were repeatedly held responsible for a climate of corruption among the police. Among other things, influential entrepreneurs are said to have been informed in advance of ongoing corruption investigations.
Police chiefs are suspected of informing the influential entrepreneurs
in advance of ongoing corruption investigations
For the millionaire Mr. Marian Kočner, police officers are said to have, with the knowledge of their superiors, shadowed journalists who were researching his illegal deals - including Mr. Kuciak, who was later murdered. Mr. Kočner is charged with ordering Mr. Kuciak's murder. He was acquitted in the first instance in September for lack of evidence. However, the acquittal is not final because the public prosecutor appealed.
Mr. Kuciak had reported on corruption by Mr. Kočner and others. His murder sparked mass demonstrations against corruption and the misuse of EU funds. Prime Minister Robert Fico as well as several ministers and the police president resigned.