Slovak police arrest prominent businessman Hascak, co-owner of Penta

by Reuters
Tuesday, 1 December 2020 20:44 GMT

PRAGUE, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Slovak police arrested and charged prominent businessman Jaroslav Hascak on Tuesday after raiding his company Penta's offices in Bratislava, charges that Penta called "groundless and inappropriate."

Hascak is a co-owner of Czech-Slovak Penta Investments, which also runs businesses in Poland and elsewhere in central and eastern Europe. It was once seen as having strong ties with the highest levels of Slovak politics.

News website reported Hascak had been charged with corruption and money-laundering.

The police were not immediately available for comment.

Penta confirmed the arrest, but did not say what the charges against Hascak were.

"We deem the police action on our firm's premises, together with charging Penta's co-owner J. Hascak as groundless and inappropriate," Penta spokesman Martin Danko said in an emailed statement.

A video posted on appears to showed Hascak being taken away by armed policemen wearing balaclavas. In the video, he said that he did not know why he had been arrested. Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the video.

Before his arrest, Hascak had gone to police for an interview relating to the so-called 'Gorilla' case involving suspected illegal transactions with police records, Danko said.

The case is named after a file containing police recordings of meetings between politicians and business leaders in a flat in Bratislava in 2005-2006, where the police say that corruption deals were made.

The 'Gorilla' investigation got a boost from a wider national crackdown on graft and organized crime and its links with institutions, sparked by outrage over the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak two years ago, a case that eventually brought down the previous government.

(Reporting by Robert Muller, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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