Ján Kaľavský is afraid to return to Slovakia, talks about the increasing number of the dead involved in cases investigated by NAKA (National Crime Agency – translator’s note)
The former head of the operational department of NAKA, Ján Kaľavský (39), is known as the man who started the war in police. He was the one who came to the inspection with a shocking claim that police officers manipulate the investigations of major corruption cases. In order to obtain evidence, he became an agent ensuring, for example, eavesdropping of events at NAKA. Then his colleagues accused him of corruption and in August 2021, Kaľavský fled the country. He was caught in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the courts refused to extradite him to Slovakia. He seeks asylum in a country that is not part of the European Union. The police leadership is now presenting Kaľavský as a corrupt policeman who was passing information to the underworld for bribes. No one talks about the fact that he is a raid officer and a sniper rewarded for the results in the most difficult operations. Or have you perhaps heard somewhere that the then prime minister Radičová personally thanked him for neutralizing the Slovak cannibal Matej Čurko and that he was also awarded for pacifying a forty-time murderer and a mobster in a hand-to-hand fight? ĽUDMILA LACKOVÁ travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet and talk to sniper Kaľavský.
You’ve been on the run for a year. You only agreed to an in-person interview, but you kept changing the place of our meeting. We didn’t know exactly where to find you until the last moment. Are you so afraid?
It’s terrible that I have to run like an outlaw just because I told the truth. I represented the Slovak police on foreign trips and ended up as the most corrupt police officer. And yes, I’m already paranoid. I keep looking around to see if anyone is following me. I fear for my life.
Do you fear for your life? You’re being a bit dramatic, aren’t you? You’re probably more afraid of being imprisoned.
Haven’t the people involved in cases investigated by NAKA started dying in Slovakia? Balvan hanged himself, Polóny shot himself, Böhm shot himself. Mikulec was found dead ‘on the run’, we forged official records because of him. Mikulec’s wife then blamed NAKA for his death and some guy broke through the gate and shot her… Almáši, the lawyer of the Takáčovci group, died suddenly on the way to the court. My life is under threat. I don’t want to be tortured and have my eye accidentally popped out doing push-ups. I don’t want to experience that. I know what we were capable of.
Your words sound strange. You don’t say what they were capable of, but what we were capable of. So you are also talking about yourself.
I was a part of it all.
And what were you capable of?
Torturing people mentally, tormenting, blackmailing, fabricating evidence. I’m telling you this in all seriousness. General Lučanský, who was locked up in custody, had been purposefully withheld mail from his family by ‘our guys’ at Christmas. He knew from his lawyer that his daughter wrote him a letter, but he did not receive anything. In the prison hospital in Trenčín, he demanded his watch and a letter from his daughter. His colleagues told him to return to Prešov to his cell, where both the watch and the letter were waiting for him. Because of this, he rushed out of the hospital after being injured! But he received neither the watch nor the letters. Lučansky’s predecessor Gašpar tells the truth at the press conferences. We purposefully exchanged his letters. The colleague Dunčko said – we will exchange the letter for the d*ck. Some hater wrote him, there were vulgar invectives, that he was going to die in prison. We didn’t send him letters from his family, why should we? Let’s make him wait for another month or two. But we sent him these vulgar ones. That was happening. If I told you about all the situations I experienced, one edition of PLUS 7 DNÍ would not be enough.
I don’t quite understand the withholding of letters. Are police officers so malicious?
That’s what I’ve been telling you the entire time. We had a feeling that NAKA was almighty.
Why did you accede to the maliciousness?
I was thinking that we were doing it for a good cause. It started with the Takáčovci. They are mobsters and all of them should be locked up. We produced fictional official records. That someone has weapons, that he is threatening a neighbour, that he is dangerous. In reality it was nonsense, but paper can take a lot. An investigator entered official record into the file and requested the deployment of Lynx Commando based on that. So we raided into someone’s house screaming loudly at five o’clock in the morning, there was a helicopter roaring above the roof, only to break a person from the very beginning. To roll them on the ground, to put pressure on them. So that they have a hard time from the beginning. We got a witness, he is cracked, so we promise him also what we wouldn’t fulfil. He tells us what we want. We make sure to get two more to confirm it so that we have three witnesses. No one can break it through. Do you know how long the lawyer of the Takáčovci group, Ribár, had been imprisoned and how badly we treated him? Fabricated official records to keep him in custody for as long as possible. That is the modus operandi. Just to keep him locked up. It worked for the Takáčovci and it still does. Gašpar, Hraško, Vorobjov. Oh my God, Vorobjov (former NAKA officer – editor’s note). After six months, Vorobjov was released from custody and on the same day we detained him again. He was a living example of how to put pressure. He could really talk about this! But he’s probably afraid. They yelled at him for three hours – give us this one, give us that one – specific names. Vorobjov was shaking. They broke him.
You say that they also made up the accusations at NAKA. But not only Vorobjov confessed. There are many of those who have pleaded guilty.
Yes. But under what conditions did they confess? If they yelled at them that they were going to take their property, lock up their wife because she must have cooperated with them? What was left for them? They acceded. Then colleagues approached them, had them read passages from the interrogations that they were supposed to confirm. None of the operatives verified the claims. I was just staring at what was happening there. At first we tried it with mobsters – can you tell us something interesting? It will save you. But what could have saved Beďo Slobodník (former NAKA officer – editor’s note)? Only Smer (political party – translator’s note). Already after the elections, Čurilla said that we would do a criminal group – from Fico, Gašpar, Bödör and finally we would do the entire Smer. Slobodník really wanted to give us some bombastic information, but he had to ask the police officers what it could be. They had to direct him. He served us special prosecutor Kováčik. A record signed by the prosecutor Repa arrived and my colleague Magula called me over, saying, Jano, read that record. Slobodník was supposed to talk about a bribe, some book and about Kováčik. All right, I say to Magula – check it out, contact Slobodník. They called Slobodník, put the phone speaker on. They told him – we have information from you about the book and the money. He said – some book was put there. And what was in it? I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. With my own ears I heard Slobodník say – I don’t know. A week later, he already knew what was in that book?! Please.
When did you realize you didn’t want to be part of it anymore?
The turning point, why I started testifying, happened one evening. I called Čurilla regarding the later accused colleague Kučerka, and Čurilla told me – don’t worry, soon you will have the opportunity to go to their house and you can shoot his children. That was the first turning point. You don’t even joke about shooting children. The second turning point came when general Lučanský died and my colleagues were celebrating. I thought they were animals.
On what basis do you claim they were celebrating his death?
We had a group on WhatsApp called Apači.
There we were sending messages that Mikulec died – great, Balvan died – thumbs up, Lučanský died – another notch on the gun! Those people can’t pass mental health screening tests. They mustn’t work in the police. I know from my colleague Roman Staš that Čurilla ordered them to delete everything or to change their mobile phones. I wonder why they had to delete everything. Why? We did everything honestly according to the law, didn’t we?
Sorry, but how can I believe that you are not making this up? You have a motivation to defame police officers. They are prosecuting you for corruption.
I have also submitted evidence to the inspection. Lots of evidence. For example, a phone with photos, with communication of our Apači group, with the investigator’s instructions on how to instruct a witness. Everything is documented in the investigation file. I also told my boss Branislav Zurian about what was happening, and I forwarded some messages to him. He was the first to whom I told sometime in winter 2020 – 2021 that I couldn’t work like this anymore.
Did Zurian, as the head of NAKA at the time, not know about these practices?
How would he know that?
Wait. You’re saying – what we were capable of. I thought by us you mean NAKA. Who did you mean by ‘us’?
Me, Branislav Dunčko, Robo Magula, Roman Stáš, Ján Čurilla, Pavol Ďurka and a few of his allied investigators who were coming to the office on a mass scale to consult.
So not the entire NAKA.
No, not at all. That was a group of police officers plus several prosecutors such as Repa, Šurek and a few judges. Do you know when we had to do an operation? It was no coincidence. The arrests were planned when the right judge was on duty. Some of them put into jail everyone we pointed at. Otherwise, we had to lie to judges, for example in the orders on the deployment of information technology. If there is a prosecutor who doesn’t like you and a judge who has no time to read everything carefully and also trusts the prosecutor, it’s over for you.
That sounds terrifying.
But this is how it had been for years. I am telling you what I hopped into. And it’s not like I changed my view for some Tiger (nickname of Peter Petrov, an entrepreneur prosecuted in the case of manipulating the investigations – editor’s note) and corruption accusation. Come on. I wasn’t reliant on Tiger’s cell phone, plastic windows and other nonsense as he is testifying against me. Read the resolution of the General Prosecutors Office. There are quotations from legal eavesdropping of ‘our guys’ – Čurilla crew. They discussed that ‘whatever’ should be trumped up on Kaľavský. Whatever! My colleague Dunčko was figuring out, what they would say that I was promised as an act of corruption – whether cash or some position. Most importantly, to be able to have corruption merits of the case. Mr. Lipšic called it informal talks of police officers. But they also executed these ‘informal talks’. They accused me of ‘whatever’, because they had to make me an unreliable witness in their own cases.
I don’t have a good impression from the published recordings of police officers’ discussions at NAKA. Talking about the necessity to set the inspection investigator’s Santusová on fire was recorded thanks to you? You were an agent approved by the court.
It was me indeed. But my colleagues at NAKA spoke about setting Santusová’s car on fire at the time when I was already fleeing. I had nothing to do with that. I am myself curious what will come to light eventually, as the eavesdropping from only two days is mentioned in the resolutions. And as far as I know, this kind of monitoring was under way for much, much longer.
Except for this kind of evidence, is there anybody else at NAKA who confirms the manipulations in investigations of big cases?
Yes, there is. For example, my colleague Emmel confirmed something. And look, what happened to him. He was immediately accused of corruption. His suspension was signed by his senior colleague Čurilla who was already charged at that time for obstruction of justice. The accused was fired by another accused.
How did you actually make it to NAKA?
I started as a street police officer in Krompachy. It wasn’t any star career out of blue. Slowly, step by step I made my way there. Those who saw my personal file know that all my life, my service of a police officer was an honest one. A role model. When I was a sniper, Mr. Lipšic as Minister of Interior and then Prime Minister Mrs. Radičová thanked me in person for the operation in 2011 in Kysak, where cannibal Čurko was already pulling up a gun at a police agent (Čurko was deadly shot at that operation – editor’s note). Minister Saková congratulated me on successfully managing an operation, where we with my colleague caught a very dangerous person who had committed 40 murders at the time. We were watching him at night in a forest. He came alone with a binocular around his neck and was wearing a gun. He was waiting for someone. The two of us jumped on him. He didn’t want to give up, so it was a regular hand to hand combat. Now, they are digging out bodies in Dolný Chotár following the interrogation of this mobster. For a short period of time I also worked at Special Purpose Police Unit.
Was the current president of the Slovak Police Force Štefan Hamran your boss at Lynx Commando?
Yes, Hamran was a unit commander. That ‘moral compass’ as he called himself. Sorry, I need to calm down, because I am getting emotional. How to start? Mr. Hamran is a police officer who has never undergone the hell week, nor any other check-up at the unit.
What is the hell week?
You are constantly beaten, they oppress you with hunger, even torture you through physical performance, trying to break you, whereby you have to fulfil difficult tasks. The aim of the hell week is to verify, whether an applicant for a job in an elite unit sustains extreme conditions. When I was there, there were 20 of us at the beginning, and from that 8 of us succeed. After the hell week you still have to pass the mental health screening tests. Hamran not only never completed the hell week, but as far as I know, he had trouble passing the psychological examination too.
Did everybody have to complete the hell week?
Exactly. Except for this ‘moral compass’, who is showing off himself with Bulgari chain. I left Lynx commando after he didn’t allow me to participate in the selection process of the French Embassy. I had a chance to study at a police academy in France. I speak French well. I interpreted at visits for the Ministry of Interior as well as for churches. Hamran said I could not apply because he did not have sufficient number of staff. So I told myself to forget about the Lynx Commando and I went for NAKA. I didn’t become the head of 2nd operational department during Kaliňák’s mandate, but at the time when OĽaNO were leading the government. I received a salary there which regular police officers don’t even dream of and I drove a business BMW. We would call minister Mikulec the Crown Prince, some called him the King. I also need to mention my brother Dominik. He wanted to become a member of Lynx Commando. He succeeded at polygraph as well as at physical check-ups, well, he is a multiple Slovak champion at box, and allegedly he didn’t pass the mental health screening tests. So I asked Mr. Hamran, whether he would enable him to repeat those tests. That’s all. And Hamran is saying now that I was lobbing for my brother. But I didn’t ask Hamran to admit him! I just asked for a second chance for him. He was a decent police officer. He solved a murder case at District Department in Pezinok and even visited president Čaputová for that. And now they fully banished him from the police force because of me.
How was it with the investigation of a hundred-thousand-bribe and Roman Mikulec? In PLUS 7 DNÍ we published a recording of a conversation where the boss of the tax police, Imrecze, is mentioning it.
I approached in person my colleague Čurilla, the investigators. I had the information that Imrecze wanted to testify regarding the things leading to the current Minister of Interior, Mikulec. The normal procedure should have been that my junior colleagues, the operatives would approach Imrecze. But it wasn’t them who did. Čurilla and Ďurka visited Imrecze to have a chat. And all of a sudden, Imrecze only spoke of Smer. He didn’t speak about the bribe hundred thousand euro that could have been meant for Mikulec anymore. Because there was a group that manipulated investigations at NAKA, and the minister was aware of that. Tiger used to leave him messages through the attorney Čipák, who would meet the minister in a sauna. When Makó (former head of the Financial Administration Criminal Office) was arrested, the police officer Vlado Vallo was writing me the entire time to send him the picture of Makó for the King. That was real sick. We proceeded as per well-established modus operandi. To break a person. There were helicopters in Jelenec, Lynx Commando rushed in there and Tiger sent there even journalists. I remember that Makó had at home a picture of himself in a musketeer uniform with a coat of arms with a wolf on his chest. I took a picture of Makó and sent it. Vallo wrote me back that the King was happy. By the way, these messages were also submitted to the inspection. So we put Makó in jail, he broke and became a ‘confessant’ witness and eventually, a company with a close relationship to him was also hired by the state a for a job…
Under what circumstances were you accused?
At first, I was taken in handcuffs by Bratislava Police Emergency Unit. My terrace door shook – bam, bam, bam. They put me into a cage, the very cell where Lučanský was held. They had me on camera the entire time. Even when I went to WC. There was no toilet paper. Simply, disgusting. And just a day before, I had a meeting with Heger.
Did you make an appointment with the Prime Minister?
Do you think I was in such a position that I could meet the Prime Minister? No. Mr. Marek Kaňka (former head of Tipos, Heger’s friend – editor’s note) asked me to meet the Prime Minister, because he wanted to talk to me. On 20 May 2021 at 11.37 a. m. I was sitting at Mr. Kaňka’s office with Mr. Heger and Mr. Július Jakab and in the morning of 21 May ten raid officers were at my place.
What did Heger want to speak about with you?
I don’t want to say that yet. I will do it later. The time has not come.
Are you sure you don’t want to come back to Slovakia?
You know very well that I seek asylum in Bosnia. I am not coming back, as long the system is in place that I have just described. I am ready to repeat on a polygraph everything I have told you today. And my former colleagues from NAKA should also undergo a lie detector test. Allies, as they like to call themselves. Prosecutors and judges should do the same. To reveal the truth eventually.
Shouldn’t you testify at a trial about these things?
I am ready to testify via teleconference. Or they can come here to see me.
What do you live in Bosnia from?
It’s not easy. I have a temporary job in a private company. I receive a police pension of around four hundred euro. That is like charity. I have to work too. Slovak journalists are already writing about me selling my cottage. Why could that be? Well, it’s because I have nothing to live from. I need to pay my mortgages, loans. My wife is a teacher of children with mental disabilities at Special Elementary School in Modra. She has already sold everything she had. My nineteen-year old son Janík studies at secondary school and also has a part-time job at Billa. My former colleague Jano Čurilla does his shopping there with his wife. My older son serves them, cuts salami for them and they laugh. Čurilla, who is accused of manipulation of the investigation, got promoted and is now colonel, he was also assigned a business car, black Touareg. His wife got a job at the Ministry in Interior headed by Mikulec.