Controversial businessman taken into custody

Businessman Marián Kočner, a symbol of corruption and arrogance for many Slovaks, was implicated in several fraud scandals. Few believed that he would ever wind up in court, but now he has.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
Controversial businessman taken into custody - NewsMavens
Marián Kočner, Facebook

Why this story matters:

After protests against corruption and the change of government in past months, Slovaks are on the lookout for improvements in national politics. One such positive step is the arrest of the well-connected businessman Marián Kočner, who was remanded in custody last week on the suspicion of falsifying promissory notes worth 69 million euros.

When he was detained by the court and escorted to prison in front of journalists, it was a shock for many -- most Slovaks assumed that his ties to powerful elites would protect him from ever being held accountable for his crimes.

Since the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak, and the unsuccessful ongoing police investigation, Slovakia has struggled with a government seemingly soft on justice but strong in self-interest. But popular unrest has kept attention focused on corruption and social issues. So, although the outcome of this trial is far from settled, Kočner's presence in the courtroom raises hopes that the word "justice" still means something in Slovakia. 

Details from the story:

  • "Truth, courage and decency have won. It’s a message for all decent people that justice exists and everyone’s time will come," said prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor's Office Ján Šanta.
  • The Prosecutor asked for Kočner's custody because he was concerned that he would commit another crime.
  • Kočner threatened many journalists in the past, one of them was the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak, who filed a complaint against him.
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