Michal Prskavec was named head of the embattled Prague Transport Company’s (DPP) legal department in January by the acting director who replaced Martin Dvořák following allegations of widespread corruption. Only months later, both were no longer in those roles. Why was Prskavec appointed without a probationary period? Was his Kč 330,000 golden parachute deserved?
Karel Randák, former head of the Czech foreign intelligence service, the Office for Foreign Relations and Information (ÚZSI), and now member of the board of the National Anti-Corruption Endowment (NFPK), says he is ready to accept that any politician may be involved in corrupt practices, including Czech President Václav Klaus.
Prague’s mayor has named a Czech-American businessman Vladimír Lich as de facto director general of DPP — the Czech capital’s scandal-ridden public transport firm — for a two-year term. Under Lich’s leadership as “crisis manager,” all cases of alleged dodgy deals are to investigated in tandem with a broader review of how DPP has allocated public funds and contracted. Lich worked in global consultancy A.T. Kearney’s Czech office from 1989 until last year.
The scandals surrounding Prague’s public transport company DPP have been so great of late it was a relief when Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (ODS) promised a professional headhunter would be enlisted to help fill the vacant CEO post. That tender appears to have been way off track with some top personnel companies calling for it to be abandoned before Svoboda finds himself with too many explanations to make.
Managers of the city-owned Prague Transport Company (DDP) — under investigation due to alleged corruption in the awarding of contracts and terms thereof — concluded a remarkably disadvantageous contract in 2006 to buy new LCD televisions via the firm Xanthus, to which acting DPP chief Jaroslav Stůj has links, Czech Position has learned; Stůj has since been recalled from the post by the DPP supervisory board.
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.
Czech media continue to untangle the web of links between opaque offshore companies, the law firms that represent them, and the individuals benefiting from contracts agreed by Prague transport company (DPP) former CEO Martin Dvořák — possibly including his mother (a police probe is underway). Czech Position has uncovered yet another, involving a security firm whose clients included DPP and TV Prima, which Dvořák once headed.
The business daily Hospodářské noviny (HN) has published fresh evidence of indirect and direct links between a company that lent €1.6 million to the mother of Martin Dvořák, the former CEO of the Prague public transport company DPP pushed to resign over suspect contracts, and companies that benefitted from contracts that the city-owned entity granted during Dvořák’s tenure.
Martin Dvořák’s last official act before being resigning as CEO of Prague public transport company DPP was to cancel a disadvantageous contract with the paper mill Neograph to produce metro, tram and bus tickets. Czech anti-corruption police are now looking into his family’s finances, after his mother bought a Kč 25 million villa via a lawyer with Šachta & Partners, the firm representing “Prague godfather” Ivo Rittig, a lobbyist who had a lucrative consulting contract on the suspect DPP–Neograph deal.
Škoda Transportation posted a net profit amounting to 27 percent of turnover for 2010 thanks to orders from Czech Railways (ČD) and from Czech towns and cities, which accounted for around 80 percent of the firm’s total sales for the year. By comparison, the most recent financial results for the world’s largest manufacturers of locomotives, trams, and light railways are considerably lower.