The resignation of Deputy Finance Minister Martin Barták (Civic Democrats, ODS) — who has been on unpaid leave since last autumn when he came under investigation for suspected corruption during his time in the defense ministry — became official today.
Former US ambassador to the Czech Republic William Cabaniss alleged last autumn that in early 2008 Barták, then deputy defense minister under Vlasta Parkanová, sought a bribe to help facilitate a Kč 2.7 billion defense ministry order for Tatra trucks, of which Cabaniss had become supervisory board chairman after leaving government.
“I made the decision [to resign] after careful consideration and for economic and social reasons. Nothing else. In no way is it a sign that I admit to any of those monstrous and foul accusations against me,” ‘In no way is it a sign that I admit any of those monstrous and foul accusations against me.’Barták said in a statement quoted by Czech Television (ČT). He had submitted his resignation on Friday.
Kalousek said in a press release issued today by the Finance Ministry that he did not understand why the investigation involving Barták has taken so long. “It leads me to suspect that the delay is on purpose,” he said, adding that he intends to demand an explanation from Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil (ODS).
“If it were a complicated financial or business operation, I would understand. But I don’t understand why the organs involved in the criminal investigation have spent six months on the question of whether someone said something or not at one reception,” Kalousek said.
“On the one hand, the unbelievably long time period lowers public confidence in the justice system, but first and foremost a consequence has been unfair attacks upon Martin Barták and all of his family,” Kalousek added.
Previous articles on the Barták case are available here