Political corruption is nothing new in Eastern European countries (and indeed elsewhere) but a new case in Slovakia, revealed ahead of the general election in March, has raised new questions over the extent of this persistent problem. The information contained in a leaked file code-named ‘Gorilla’ could have serious repercussions for Slovak politics.
Euractiv reports that:
The ‘Gorilla’ file points to many cases of high-profile corruption across the political spectrum, mostly in the form of the conditions for government privatisation and public procurement programmes. Names mentioned in the context of questionable deals include former prime ministers Robert Fico, a leading member of the social democrat Smer party, and Mikuláš Dzurinda, who is from the centre-right SDKÚ-DS.
The file allegedly documents secret meetings between an associate of Slovak financial services giant Penta and various politicians or their close aides. The meetings were held in an apartment that was monitored by the intelligence services. A Slovak court has confirmed that it authorised an eavesdropping warrant with the same file number that appears on the ‘Gorilla’ file. (…)
Many people – including ministers, politicians and journalists – were apparently familiar with the existence and content of the file for several years. However, it was not made public until December and has since become the subject of extensive media coverage with journalists investigating many of the suspicious operations.
Why hasn’t this information come out earlier one wonders… Here is a possible explanation:
The data obtained by the intelligence agency, which in many cases indicate plans or subjective information given by the speakers, was not given to the police for investigation. This may be due to the closeness of the successive chiefs of SIS with the political parties concerned, some analysts say.
Corruption is still a big problem in many places and a massive one in some. The EU should redouble its efforts in tackling this issue.