The Czech police’s anti-corruption and financial crimes unit ÚOKFK has been investigating criminal complaints relating to the opaque brokerage Key Investments — into which nearly Kč 1 billion of public funds has apparently been lost or embezzled — for more than a year and a half. Finally, some politicians who had a hand in putting taxpayers’ money with the brokerage have been held to account.
A third member of the Czech police unit for combating organized crime (ÚOOZ) is set to be charged with illegally gathering information. Kateřina Varvařovská, who has been suspended from her current position as elite detective with the Central Bohemia region’s police force, faces abuse of office charges, Mladá fronta dnes report. Those wiretapped claim business rival ABL — founded by de facto Public Affairs party (VV) leader Vít Bárta — was behind the plot.
Exactly a year ago, Czech Position was the first publication to report on the scandal surrounding the Key Investments brokerage, which could be dubbed as the Czech equivalent of the Bernie Madoff case. While the US finance fraudster received a 150-year prison sentence, the main protagonists in the Czech scandal remain free — thanks to the level of morality and expertise in the Czech police and judiciary.
The Municipal Court in Prague on Wednesday rejected an appeal by former intelligence agent, Petr Bakeš, against a ruling in 2010 by the District Court in Prague 1, which found him guilty of abusing his powers and breaching privacy laws. In 2008, policeman Jiří Dvořák, secured video recordings of a meeting between presidential aide Jiří Weigl and lobbyist Miroslav Šlouf which Bakeš then leaked.
Czech Position has learned that the Center for Economics and Politics (CEP), the think tank founded by President Václav Klaus in 1998 after he stepped down as prime minister, entrusted money to Key Investments, an opaque brokerage under investigation by the central bank — and got most of it back. Meanwhile, two Prague city districts have yet to see huge sums of taxpayers’ money sunk into junk and illiquid bonds returned.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) on Wednesday evening accepted the resignation of Trade and Industry Minister Martin Kocourek (also ODS), after it came out that he had attempt to hide his assets from his now ex-wife by consolidating them in bonds worth millions, put in his mother’s name — and invested with the dodgy brokerage Key Investments. He could face charges of fraud.
The Key Investments scandal in which, among others, the names of Czech presidential advisor Jiří Weigl and Environment Minister Tomáš Chalupa appear has taken another twist and is likely to come to a head soon. Now the past has caught up with another Czech cabinet member – Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kocourek – whose mother invested Kč 16.4 million with the dodgy brokerage.
Sokolovská uhelná (SU) claims it lost Kč 45 million in January at the hands of the brokerage Key Investments, which was managing an investment fund for the mining company, and has filed a complaint with the anti-corruption police and state prosecutor for Prague 1, along with a lawsuit in the Prague Stock Exchange (BCPP) arbitration court, Czech Position has learnt.