Kalinak: We’ll Try to Have Kosik Extradited to Slovakia and Make Him Testify

Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (archive photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 10 (TASR) – Slovakia will attempt to transport former Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) member Lubos Kosik to its soil so that he can give testimony in the case of the 1995 kidnapping of former president Michal Kovac’s son, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) said on Wednesday.

Kalinak spoke in response to statements Kosik had sent to the SME daily.

“We’ll try to transport him to Slovakia in order to allow him to give a testimony here and make it relevant,” Kalinak told reporters after the Government’s session. “I have a feeling it won’t be easy, though. We’re trying quite intensely, really.”

Kosik, who was sentenced to 14 years for counterfeiting claims by the Specialised Criminal Court in 2015, was at large until recently being arrested in Mali. The Interior Ministry is in direct contact with authorities in the African country, with Kalinak also hoping that Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee), who is currently serving as the UN General Assembly President, will intervene as well.

“I also want to make use of our foreign affairs minister’s position, who could maybe exercise further pressure,” stated Kalinak. “It takes a long time in some countries, you also know that he’s been arrested, so we’ll see how this plays out.”

Formerly part of the five-man team that kidnapped the president’s son, Kosik told SME daily that the operation was personally directed by SIS head Ivan Lexa.

Kalinak expressed doubts over the statement. “It looks very purpose-built to me. Why now, why at this moment? Why didn’t he do this before when he was here and his lawsuit was pending or before receiving his sentence? He had a thousand opportunities to do this,” he claimed.

The Justice Ministry, headed by Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid), has repeatedly attempted to have Kosik extradited, but with no success, as the African side has failed to respond to official requests. “We asked repeatedly for extradition. The last time, I addressed the request to their Justice Minister and the Prime Minister. We don’t have any feedback yet,” Zitnanska said after the Government’s session.

Slovakia doesn’t have an extradition agreement with Mali. “Therefore, the process can take longer. According to my information, that process takes longer in Mali also with states that inked the agreement, let alone with states that don’t have one. On behalf of the Justice Ministry, however, I can say that we did our utmost,” stressed Zitnanska.

“Everything was controlled by Ivan Lexa. He knew about every step made by the SIS members during the kidnapping,” Kosik said in the statement for the daily. According to him, the action was monitored from a nearby service car by former SIS deputy director Jaroslav Svechota. Kosik claims that Lexa was giving orders from his office.

Kosik wants to testify about the case. He emphasises in the statement that he is aware of the possible legal consequences. He also says he isn’t under the influence of narcotics or alcohol, and nobody has forced him into anything.