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Slovakia spy chief facing criminal charges ahead of key vote – DW – 08/17/2023

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Slovakia announced on Thursday that it charged its spy chief and several other intelligence officials on allegations of abusing power and criminal conspiracy.   

What do we know about the charges?

Slovakian Police President Stefan Hamran said Slovak Information Service (SIS) director Michal Alac, former SIS head Vladimir Pcolinsky and Director of the National Security Authority Roman Konecny were among those being prosecuted. 

“The investigator brought charges for the crime of establishing, forming and supporting a criminal group, the crime of abuse of public authority and the crime of obstruction of justice,” Hamran said during a media briefing. 

Slovak news agency TASR reported that Alac, who is on a trip abroad, has learned of the charges and will now return home to meet with investigators. 

Slovakian Prime Minister Ludovit Odor
The charges against current and former intelligence and police officials have prompted new criticism towards Ludovit Odor’s caretaker cabinetImage: RADOVAN STOKLASA/REUTERS

Slovakian caretaker Prime Minister Ludovit Odor will discuss the matter on Friday with the Security Council of the Slovak Republic. 

Former PM derides charges as ‘police coup’ 

The move comes ahead of early elections slated for September 30. The polls were called after former Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s government collapsed due to a vote of no-confidence in December.

“Let the police do their job,” Heger said in regards to the charges. The member parties of the previous government won the 2020 election on an anti-corruption platform.

Former Prime Minister Robert Fico, meanwhile, derided the cases as a “police coup.” He called for Police President Hamran to be dismissed. 

Former Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico
Former Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has earlier expressed anti-Islamic and pro-Russian views Image: Jaroslav Novák/TASR/dpa/picture alliance

Fico is a member of Slovakia’s parliament. Recent polls show his leftist Smer-Democracy party may be victorious in the upcoming elections, allowing Fico to return to power.  

Fico has expressed a softer line on Russia, in a reversal from the current government’s steadfast support for Ukraine. 

wd/nm (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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