13 judges charged with corruption
The police arrested and charged with corruption 13 judges (plus a former judge, a bankruptcy trustee, and lawyer) on Wednesday, and they all face 5-10 year sentences. They are suspected of taking bribes from Marian Kočner, who was also charged. The charges are partly based on testimony of Judge Vladimír Sklenka, who has been cooperating with the police. Kočner’s Threema indicates Sklenka took at least €150,000 in bribes from Kočner. Those arrested include Monika Jankovská (ex-Deputy Justice Minister), Jarmila Urbancová (Deputy Supreme Court Chief Justice), Dušan Srogončík (head of the Bratislava V District Court), Ľuboš Sádovský (ex-head of Bratislava Regional Court) and David Lindtner (ex-head of Bratislava III District Court).
The Supreme Court is now without leadership after Jarmila Urbancová was arrested. The Court has been without a Chief Justice since October 2019, and Urbancová was the only Deputy Chief. Current legislation does not deal with such a situation and the Judicial Council will have to address it. It will hold the fourth round of Chief Justice elections on March 30. Candidates include Ivan Rumana and Ján Šikuta. The Bratislava I District Court, Slovakia’s busiest, lost five judges. At the end of last year, it only had 36 instead of optimal 47 judges.
I expect the number of arrested judges to increase further, said Elena Berthotyová, a Judicial Council member who was allowed to inspect police dossiers.