With billions of crowns in EU funding frozen, the Czech government is finally taking action. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) is planning to gather all the auditors responsible for controlling EU grant expenditure from various regions and regional bodies into a single unit within his ministry. According to a number of sources, however, the Finance Ministry holds its fair share of responsibility for misuse of EU funds and flawed surveillance.
Charges will be filed against representatives of ProMoPro, which in 2009 provided audio-visual and interpreting services to the Czech government during the EU Presidency, and an official in the Czech Government Office, Hospodářské noviny (HN) reported Friday. The news come following an investigation lasting over a year; according to the daily, then-EU affairs minster Alexandr Vondra will not face charges.
The Finance Ministry announced Tuesday that last year its Financial Analysis Unit (FAÚ) blocked Kč 808 million of “laundered” money, i.e. funds suspected of being diverted to avoid taxation and illegally-gained funds. Over the year FAÚ received 1,970 reports of suspicious transfers of money, 83 more than in the previous year.
In the middle of the Czech Presidency of the EU in 2009, then minister for EU affairs Alexandra Vondra asked Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek for an extra Kč 371 million to finance events within the framework of the presidency. Kalousek obliged without verifying how the money would be spent. Hitherto, Kalousek has been among the most vociferous in calling for Vondra to be brought to account for spending on the EU presidency in connection with the firm ProMoPro.
The surge of media interest stirred up by reports that the Ministry of Finance’s special auditing section is probing state-power giant ČEZ's purchase and construction of two big solar projects demonstates well-used links between the ministry and media, a complicated corporate structure for the companies under the spotlight, and what is probably a clear sub-plot to discredit Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra.