Slovak police charge ex-minister over claims against CME TV station

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovak police have charged two people with forgery offences against a television station owned by Central European Media Enterprises, police said on Thursday.

One of the men, former economy minister Pavol Rusko, denied the charges while the second man’s lawyer said his client, businessman Marian Kocner, had made a formal complaint against the charges.

An investigator from the national financial police unit charged the two with “forgery, altering and unauthorized manufacturing of money and securities”, police said on their Facebook page.

Police had filed a request for the two, which they identified only by their initials P.R. and M.K., to be held in custody, the statement added.

The case involved promissory notes that claimed receivables worth tens of millions of euros from Markiza TV, a top channel in Slovakia.

Rusko, who was economy minister in 2003-2005, was also head and co-owner of Markiza in 1995-2000 before Nasdaq-listed CME took control of the station.

Rusko confirmed the charges to reporters. "I have categorically rejected all charges and explained my position and arguments," he said in a video clip posted on news website

Kocner’s lawyer Martin Pohovej said that Kocner had filed an official complaint against the charges, news website reported.

A court decision earlier this year ordered Markiza to pay Kocner 8.3 million euros ($9.7 million) in a case concerning the notes. Markiza, which has long alleged that the notes claiming a total of nearly 70 million euros were fraudulent, has said it would appeal the decision.

($1 = 0.8602 euros)

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; editing by David Stamp