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Kočner’s World

Kočner’s World

For years, Marian Kočner was one of the most wealthy and powerful businessmen in Slovakia, a man whose connections with judges and prosecutors made him virtually untouchable, and whose extravagance made him a frequent fixture in local tabloids. Today, the middle-aged businessman’s craggy face and prominent shock of black hair are mostly seen in dispatches from the courtroom he sits in day after day. Kočner is the main defendant in a high-profile trial that has gripped the country since December. He is charged with ordering the brutal murder of a young investigative journalist who had been reporting on corrupt Slovak...

The Chef’s Global Footprints

The Chef’s Global Footprints

The US government recently went after some of Prigozhin’s assets, but there’s more.  The shadowy interests of Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Russian businessman and close associate of President Vladimir Putin — have just become a little clearer. Over the past year, reporters from OCCRP’s Russian partner, Novaya Gazeta, tracked the registration details and movements of business jets linked to Prigozhin. They reveal significant Russian involvement and activity in Africa, and a mysterious trail of previously undisclosed European companies linked to Prigozhin. For example, a Prigozhin-linked jet transported a Russian military delegation to Sudan right after the April coup that unseated...

What’s wrong with Huawei?!

What’s wrong with Huawei?!

Huawei is at the center of heated political debate around the world. There is a general assumption among experts on China, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) experts and politicians that the company uses its ICT devices to spy on its users and provide this data to Chinese government. Though there have been separate cases of Huawei breaches of consumer trust, however, no one has ever came up with bullet proof evidence of systematic abuse of Huawei devices. Huawei highlights that unlike in the case of the USA and its NASA scandal, no surveillance and listening to European politicians has ever been proven....

Exit the Dragon

Exit the Dragon

Early in the morning on January 8th, agents of the Polish Internal Security Agency entered the homes of Piotr D. and Wejing W. The former, who used to work in special services, was a manager at Orange, a telecommunications company. The latter was the head of sales at Poland’s Huawei’s office. They were charged with acts of espionage for China and jailed for three months. They are currently facing ten years in prison. The decision to detain them was unprecedented. Never before had a Chinese citizen been detained in Poland on espionage charges. The services had paid little attention to...

Video Shows Slovak Ex-Prosecutor Working With Alleged Murderer

Video Shows Slovak Ex-Prosecutor Working With Alleged Murderer

Leaked footage obtained by OCCRP shows Slovakia’s former Prosecutor General Dobroslav Trnka setting up a camera in what is believed to be his office with someone who appears to be controversial businessman and murder suspect Marian Kočner. The video provides new evidence of the two men’s close working relationship. The exact date and nature of the recording has still not been confirmed, but their dialogue suggests that they planned to document at least one meeting taking place in the room, which would mark a grave and unprecedented breach of duty for a Slovak public official. On Thursday, Slovak media reported that current Prosecutor General...

Czech Weapons in Azerbaijan: How a Chassis Turned into a Howitzer

Czech Weapons in Azerbaijan: How a Chassis Turned into a Howitzer

Two years ago, when the Azerbaijani army showed off their Czech Dana howitzers and Vampire rocket launchers in a promotional video, it attracted extraordinary media attention: the Czech Republic does not officially export military equipment to this country. The arms branch of the Czechoslovak Group immediately rushed to make an official statement that, in accordance with its license, it had exported only Tatra chassis. The Czech government also denied any involvement in the export of these howitzers and rocket launchers. But new findings from investigace.cz reporters show that the ministry knew from the start the chassis would be transformed into...