Head of the liberal Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, Richard Sulík, recently became the latest target in the dirty pre-election campaign after SMS messages and now a series of 7 short videos were released last week showing him at the home of controversial businessman Marian Kocner.
The recordings don’t point to any corruption, revealing only that backstage information exchange is a daily part of doing politics, but Sulik has come under fire all the same. Although there is nothing particularly incriminating about the leaked videos, Sulik was pondering with the idea of stepping down from his party election slate. Nobody in the SaS party agrees, though, and so he will remain.
The videos show Sulik discussing various issues with Kocner in 2010, including the possible downfall of PM Iveta Radicova over the election of Attorney General Dobroslav Trnka. In his defence Sulik said that he had met with Kocner chiefly to find out who the traitors had been in the coalition, after a failed vote on the AG post.
The Attorney General vote at the time caused friction in the coalition with claims that some coalition MPs had been offered €300,000 to vote for Trnka, who had been nominated by the Smer—SD party of Robert Fico. Kocner claims that the so-called traitors came from within the SaS party and that Sulik knew who they were.
Today Marian Kocner gave an almost 2-hour press conference so he could clarify everything surrounding the videos, among other things because he himself had been accused of having put the video bug in his home, where the videos were recorded. In response to this allegation, Kocner showed pictures of the reconstruction of his home just one month before the videos were made.
His house had been wide open for anyone to enter, and the bug had been installed in the heating system control panel, which has since been replaced and thrown away. Yesterday some media reported how all the intelligence services had denied having anything to do with the hidden camera, but Kocner suspects that the military intelligence service VOS is the most likely candidate. Leaks from here also led to the downfall of former defence minister from the SaS party, Lubomir Galko.
Kocner, who claims certain statements made in the press recently by Sulik are lies, admitted that he had initially been impressed by Sulik as he had said that his SaS party would not accept money from any sponsors and that he wanted to have only “clean” candidates on their election slate at the time. Kocner then explained that he no longer believed this to be true, and that some SaS MPs had the sole intention of pushing through the privatisation of gas utility SPP.
Marian Kocner says he doesn’t care so much about the leaked videos, but that he is enraged that someone could violate his privacy in such a manner to video what was going on in his own home. He has therefore offered a EUR 300,000 reward for information about who put the bug in his home, or rather, who ordered it.
Kocner opened up other cans of worms at the press conference, taking shots at various politicians, so some retaliation can be expected. Interesting to note is how all the leaked recordings from VOS wiretapping in November 2011, the Gorilla corruption reports in December 2011 and videos like these against head of the SaS party, all appeared after the early elections were called.
All of the affairs and cases are targeted at the right-wing parties, which have now started to lunge at each other’s throats with accusations and challenges of lie detectors flying around right and centre, but not so much left. Some might be inclined to believe that all of the leaks are part of an orchestrated plan to favour certain parties in the run up to the elections. What an absurd premise.