On Thursday, the Slovak National Criminal Agency NAKA detained the head of the Slovak Information Service (SIS), Vladimír Pčolinský, on suspicion of corruption.
According to the Slovak Denník N daily, the arrest took place with the consent of the special prosecutor’s office and is based on the testimony of the former intelligence agency’s deputy, Boris Beňa.
Pčolinský took over the SIS last year after the inauguration of the current government, which, among other things, declared the fight against corruption. According to several Slovak media outlets, Pčolinský’s detention is related to a bribe from the already prosecuted businessman Zoroslav Kollár, who allegedly asked for the SIS to stop wiretapping him and cease focusing their investigation into his activities.
Pčolinský’s lawyer, Eva Mišíková, said that the head of the SIS believes he is innocent.
“He shows no signs of nervousness. He is sure that the facts that he will provide in the defense will convince the authorities that he did not commit the deed,” said Mišíková.
She added that her client remained in a police cell after questioning and that he should be released from his pledge of silence to defend himself.
President Čaputová, who, according to the law, appoints the head of the SIS at the suggestion of the government, temporarily put Pčolinský out of service. The spokesman for the head of state, Martin Strižinec, informed that Čaputová had decided to do so since Pčolinský was suspected of criminal activity in connection with his role as SIS director.
Unlike his predecessors, the current head of SIS has given interviews to several Slovak media outlets in the past, in which he also commented on various cases.
Pčolinský was nominated for the position of SIS director by the We Are Family (Sme Rodina) party. After last year’s elections, Pčolinský’s wife and brother also became deputies for the movement.
Since the election, Slovakia experiences major crime reform arrests. In various cases, the Slovak police have so far accused more than a dozen judges, former police leaders, and former high-ranking Social Democrats (Smer-SD) officials, who ended up in opposition after the election.
Title image: The director of Slovak Information Service Vladimír Pčolinský with Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová (Slovak Information Service / Facebook)