November 6, 2020 8:23:44 am
Authorities in Slovakia detained the former head of the police force, Tibor Gaspar, on Thursday along with the former leaders of the special police agency NAKA and the anti-corruption police unit. At least one other senior police official was also detained, according to Slovakian media.
NAKA units launched raids on multiple locations to detain the ex-officials. The authorities triggered the operation, codenamed “Purgatory”, following an indictment for several crimes, including criminal conspiracy, corruption and abuse of power, a spokeswoman said. She did not provide details on the charges.
‘Enjoy it, ladies and gentlemen’
Ex-police chief Tibor Gaspar resigned in the wake of the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance in 2018. Among other topics, Kuciak was looking into a deal between the Slovak government and the country’s biggest privately-owned security firm, whose owner is a relative of Gaspar.
The killing brought down the government of then-Prime Minister Robert Fico and prompted large-scale probes into corruption at the very top of the country’s criminal justice system.
Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic described the suspects as friends of Fico and his successor Peter Pellegrini.
“Enjoy it, ladies and gentlemen… and we will do everything we can to ensure that the times when the mafia ruled the state never return,” he said on Facebook
In March, Slovakia arrested 13 judges, including the former state secretary for justice, Monika Jankovska. She is suspected of manipulating trials in favor of millionaire Marian Kocner, who is often accused of bribing and blackmailing judges and prosecutors, according to the DPA news agency.
Kocner was also charged with ordering Jan Kuciak’s murder, but a court found him not guilty in September. The prosecutors have vowed to appeal the decision.
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