News Expert opinion International review Investigation

Two witnesses talk about the corruption of a judge and state secretary

Госсекретарь Минюста Словакии Моника Янковска. Яна Куцияка
Justice Ministry State Secretary Monika Jankovska. Source: Sme.

This material belongs to: The Slovak Spectator.

The bar at the centre of the alleged bribery scandal now belongs to the wife of the head of the anti-corruption police unit.

An international investigative team continues the work of the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak. The editorial rooms participating in the project are, Sme, Denník N, Nový Čas, Hospodárske Noviny, Postoj, Trend, Markíza TV, JOJ TV, Fair-Play Alliance, the Czech Radio, Blick (Switzerland), Onet (Poland), Die Welt (Germany). The article about Monika Jankovská was prepared by Denník N, Markíza and JOJ.

The Justice Ministry’s State Secretary Monika Jankovská, nominated for the post by the ruling Smer, allegedly accepted a bribe of three million Slovak crowns (approx. €100,000) in a case that concerned the Fatima bar and restaurant under Trenčín Castle.

One of the former owners of the bar, Ondrej Janíček, alleges that in a video delivered to several media outlets. He says that the organised crime group around Peter Čongrády won the bar from him by way of extortion.

Michal Vida, who admits that he belonged to that mafia group in the past, confirms the claims in another video.

Jankovská denied the accusations. She told Denník N that she would file a criminal complaint about defamation.

Janíček bought the Fatima bar in an auction in 2000 and reconstructed it. Shortly afterwards, the police raided the bar. Janíček says that the police beat him and stole from him during the raid. They took him into custody with his business partner Jozef Strelčík, and accused both men of extortion in what Janíček claims to have been a fabricated accusation.

He believes the mafia was behind the raid and his detention, alleging that around that time the group around Čongrády was interested in the property. Čongrády was shot dead in 2004.

Bribe allegation against Jankovská

Janíček claims that the police kept him arrested with his business partner in order to allow the mafia to get hold of the bar. He alleges that the people from the organised crime group were putting pressure on his wife during that time to transfer the bar on to them.

The Trenčín District Court ruled that the transaction was invalid, as Markíza TV stated before.

Jankovská was deciding on a punishment for Janíček and Strelčík in 2002. They both got 15 months behind bars, the time they had already spent in detention by then, so they were immediately released. Janíček and Vida both claim that Jankovská accepted a bribe for that ruling. Vida even says that he was present at the meeting with the judge.

He also presents another proof of the bribe – a notary record that mentions the sum of three million Slovak crowns. The document reads that Peter Čongrády received three million crowns “for O.J., J.S., R.Z.”

The initials are identical with those of Ondrej Janíček, Jozef Strelčík, and Rudolf Zúbek. The latter was also sentenced in the case for extortion. The document only mentions money for Čongrády, no mention of Jankovská in it.

Jankovská says she has never heard of the document and refutes the accusations.

“I do not even know who he is,” she said about Čongrády. She denies the claim that she ever took a bribe. Her ruling about Janíček, Strelčík, and Zúbek has been confirmed by the Trenčín Regional Court.

Janíček claims that the regional court senate chair, Jozef Janík, took a bribe for confirming the ruling. Janíček was sentenced for the defamation of Judge Janík. He is currently facing another process, for the defamation of Jankovská.

No reason to leave

Jankovská now serves as the state secretary (deputy minister) at the Justice Ministry. She says she sees no reason to leave her post. She suggested that the reports about the case in the media might be a way of putting pressure on the judge who will decide about re-opening the case with Janíček and Strelčík on Wednesday, March 28.

Jankovská has served as state secretary since 2012. In 2016 she ran for parliament from 46th spot on the slate of the ruling Smer. She is not a member of the party. She is still a judge, only her activities have been suspended due to her ministry job.

“Some information reached me last week through the journalists’ questions,” the new Justice Minister Gábor Gál of Most-Híd told Denník N. “These are undoubtedly serious accusation, which is why I have met State Secretary Jankovská on the same day to request an explanation.”

The wife of a NAKA officer

The Fatima bar and restaurant now belongs to the BATA company, which bought it last year. The most recent available data from 2013 shows that BATA is owned by Mária Krajmerová and her brother Norbert Tanoczký.

Krajmerová is the wife of the boss of the National Anti-Corruption Police unit at the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), Róbert Krajmer.

Markíza TV reported about the ownership change. Krajmerová told Markíza that she did not know anything about the dubious past of the building.

“Up until I received your e-mail there was nothing to suggest that the deal or the seller was improper,” she says.

Her brother, Tanoczký, owned the company Tatra Kredit for many years. That company owned the bar for some time, and so is mentioned in the property disputes.