Stanislav Bernard once used his national image as the head of a brewery with popular beer to back the right-of center Civic Democrats (ODS). But Bernard says the party has lost track of its basic messages about individual enterprise and the state being slimmed to the minimum. In an interview with Czech Position, Bernard says top members of the ODS are now too involved in the corruption that thrives in a free-spending and poorly controlled state.
Outspoken Student Agency founder Radim Jančura has sought to bust Czech Railways’ virtual monopoly and often clashed with local and national politicians, and administrations, not always keen to see a new competitor on the block. In an exclusive interview, he attacks the Czech competition office for failing to perform its anti-graft role, and points an accussing finger at the ministers of labor and finance – sparking legal proceedings against him for slander.
Entrepreneur Karel Janeček, mathematician, and founder of algorithmic trader RSJ, is known in the Czech Republic as the bane of corruption who doesn’t mince his words. He took up the mantle a year ago, when he founded the Anticorruption Endowment Fund (NFPK), which has launched several major causes in the past months. In a freeflowing interview, he talks about the Prague “godfathers”, the Holešov Appeal and Czech political culture.
Commentary by Istvan Léko. The governing coalition in the Czech Republic is unraveling, but the markets have not reacted at all. “Nobody takes us seriously anymore,” one Czech investment banker complained on Wednesday morning in reaction to the threat from the smallest coalition party, Public Affairs (VV), to leave the government.
Czech Position recently cited an interview in which Karel Janeček, owner of RSJ algorithmic trading and co-founder of the Endowment Fund Against Corruption (NFPK), alleged that a reward of Kč 50 million has been put up for anyone who manages to thoroughly discredit him; he further implied that law firm Šachta & Partners was behind the move. The firm refutes the claim and says it has reported Janeček to the police.
Czech billionaire Karel Janeček, founder of the Endowment Fund Against Corruption (NFPK), says there are unconfirmed reports the Prague criminal underworld has put a Kč 50 million bounty on his head. His anti-corruption group has recently exposed prominent cases of alleged corruption and cronyism involving the city-owned transport company DPP, and filed a criminal complaint against a Prague councilor for embezzling donations.
A top reward of Kč 1.0 million is being offered by the Endowment Fund Against Corruption (NFPK), a Czech anti-corruption group, for those blowing the whistle on significant cases of corruption that result in criminal convictions. The trust’s leaders say the reward is needed as an incentive for people to overcome their doubts and come forward.
The American Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying Czech MPs to change the public procurement law to increase transparency and accountability; this month, it presented the new AmCham Wings Award to lawyer Daniel Weinhold and Skanska head Dan Ťok for their work on the Platform for Transparency in Public Procurement. AmCham head Weston Stacey tells Czech Position about the chamber’s work in this regard.
Andrej Babiš, the Slovak-born billionaire founder and owner of Czech food giant Agrofert, has confirmed speculation that he will form a Czech political initiative that will promote candidates running for parliament essentially on an anti-corruption ticket; for the moment, he will remain the head and sponsor of the civic group ANO 2011, but is not himself seeking to run for elected office.
On Thursday June 30, the ruling coalition parties, the Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09, and Public Affairs (VV) signed an amendment to their coalition agreement pledging to deliver on a previously adopted anticorruption strategy. “In the law on public tenders the government will implement conditions [to ensure] transparency of bidders,” the amendment reads. The temperature that day reached 22 Celsius, so it’s out of the question the signatories were suffering from sunstroke.