Not even three months into his post as head of the Northwest Regional Cohesion Council, Leo Steiner reached a clear conclusion: the distribution of EU funds in the Ústí nad Labem and Karlovy Vary regions was riddled with corruption. The reaction was not long in coming. The Council is preparing to submit a criminal complaint against Steiner for defamation, but others in the region are rallying to his defense.
The allocation of EU grants in Northern Bohemia was not carried out in line with requirements, according to an audit by the consultancy Deloitte ordered by the Czech FinMin and EU executive. Problems were found in 34 of the 35 projects examined — and calculations of the evaluation criteria were riddled with systemic mathematical errors. What’s more, sources say the winning firms are secretly owned by regional ‘godfather’ Patrick Oulický.