Radka Kafková, the former Czech “bail-out” agency official at the center of a bribery case from 2006 that indirectly led to the resignation of Jiří Besser (TOP 09) as culture minister last month is due Monday to spend her first day behind bars as a convicted felon.
With former Czech public television director and current Academy of Performing Arts (AMU) rector Ivo Mathé — the artists’ choice — having withdrawn his name for consideration as the next Minister of Culture, MP Alena Hanáková (TOP 09-STAN) appears certain to be named to the post, left vacant after the resignation last week of her fellow party member, Jiří Besser.
Culture Minister Jiří Besser (TOP 09) has submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats, ODS) in the wake of revelations that he had twice failed to list his partial ownership of a Florida company in asset declarations; he had therefore violated the conflict of interest law. But it was Besser’s partner in the company — a convicted felon — that was his undoing.
Czech Minister of Culture Jiří Besser (TOP 09) is under intense media scrutiny for having failed to note on his official property statement that in May 2009 he had bought a $230,000 apartment in Florida through a US company he co-founded with a convicted felon.
Czech Culture Minister Jiří Besser (TOP 09) on Monday again denied that there was anything unethical or illegal about his partnership in a Florida company established with childhood friend Pavel Hrách — who was convicted in early November of bribing a board member of the state bail-out agency ČKA. He said there is no ‘Besser corruption case’ and pledged to resign if evidence to the contrary surfaced.
Following embarrasing news reports, Culture Minister Jiří Besser admits he failed to adhere to conflict of interest laws by not disclosing his formal ownership of a Florida firm that has invested millions of crowns into properties in that US state, including a villa in a posh golf resort. Besser has posted an explanation — and apology — on his website, saying he was merely “helping a friend” (who has been convicted of corruption).
A former member of the board of directors of the Czech Consolidation Agency (ČKA) arrested in July 2006 for allegedly conspiring to influence the sale of nonperforming loans at discounted prices in exchange for a Kč 400,000 bribe was found guilty on Tuesday based on wiretapping evidence and given a stiffer sentence of a year in prison.