Slovak spy and police officials face criminal charges in scandal ahead of early election – Times of India

BRATISLAVA: The former and current heads of Slovakia‘s spy agency and five other police and intelligence officers have been accused of abuse of power and criminal conspiracy, the top police officer announced Thursday, in a scandal that a former leader called “a police coup” ahead of an upcoming early election.

Stefan Hamran said the head of the National Security Authority and the former chief of the spy agency known as SIS also face abuse of power charges in a similar but a separate case.
In the first case, Hamran said the seven conspired as a criminal group led by a businessman identified as Peter K to obstruct investigations in corruption cases that date to the era of former leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico before 2020.

As a result of their actions, four investigators from the National Criminal Agency were detained and accused of manipulating testimonies until a court dismissed the allegation.
In the second case, the two are accused of conspiring to get rid of officers in the security authority, which issues clearances allowing officials to access classified information.
Slovakia is divided ahead of the early election. Fico, who wants to return to power, has charged that such a move so close to the election is meant to harm his party and the opposition. His opponents say police should investigate the allegations.
Fico called the development a “police coup,” demanded Hamran’s dismissal and called for an extraordinary session of Parliament to discuss the issue.
President Zuzana Caputova is to meet with members of the current caretaker government on Friday to discuss the announcement.
Fico’s leftist Smer-Social Democracy party lost the 2020 general election and was replaced by a coalition government whose parties campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket.
Since the new government took power, a number of senior officials, police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians and businesspeople have been charged with corruption and other crimes.
“Let police do their job,” former Prime Minister Eduard Heger said.
Slovakia faces an early election on Sept. 30 after Heger’s government lost a parliamentary no-confidence vote in December.
Fico, who unlike the previous government opposes military help for Ukraine in its war with Russia, stands a chance to win the snap vote, recent polls suggest.