Former head of the Czech anti-corruption police (ÚOKFK), Petr Vincenz, was in at the start of the long investigation that this week culminated by reeling in top Social Democrat (ČSSD) politician David Rath and seven other suspects in what appears to be a high-profile graft case. Now out of the force, he talks about the preconditions that helped pave the way for such an outcome and his fears and foreboding for how the special police squad that piloted the probe might end up.
The Czech appeal to rejoin Swiss criminal proceedings against former MUS managers has done nothing to change the first rejection delivered last year. The appeal has, reportedly, been rebuffed along the same lines as the original decision on the grounds that the Czech state came late to case in spite of earlier Swiss encouragement to take part.
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.
The battle at the top of the Czech state prosecution system has taken a bizarre turn with reinstated Chief Prague Prosecutor Vlastimil Rampula announcing the launching of a criminal complaint targeting his predecessor in the post for allegedly allowing unauthorized nightime intruders into the office of Rampula's deputy.
This Friday could be Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil’s (Civic Democrats, ODS) last working day in office, with party leaders showing no sign of supporting him in the face of a criminal complaint against him, the daily Právo reports, citing a source within the ODS. The complaint, filed on Monday, alleges Pospíšil and Supreme State Prosecutor Pavel Zeman abused their powers in replacing the Chief Prague Prosecutor Vlastimil Rampula with Stanislav Mečl.
Two weeks before President Václav Klaus on Valentine’s Day published the names of 14 people he had decided to grant clemency, Czech Position and several other media received an anonymous message in which the author said he was filing a criminal complaint about an alleged payment of a bribe “in relation to a certain Mr. Malina.” Given the controversy surrounding Klaus’ latest pardons, we decided to verify the authenticity of the anonymous message.
Marek Bodlák, a state prosecutor in Prague, says two years of police work, followed by two years work by the prosecution service have been wasted as a result of President Václav Klaus’ decision earlier this week to pardon former director of the Metropolitan University in Prague Anna Benešová. Bodlák labels Klaus’ decision over the woman found guilty of embezzlement as incomprehensible.
A battle is being fought over who takes leadership of the Czech government’s reform of the police and state prosecution service. Three different bids were made last week for a share of the action, headed by deputy prime minister Karolína Peake’s (Public Affairs, VV) bid to put herself in charge of a government working group to plan the reform agenda. The proposal, putting the interior and justice ministers in second place, will resurface this week but its chances are considered slim.
State prosecutor says the trial of Ex-Social Democrat (ČSSD) MP Petr Wolf and his wife, Hana, has shown beyond doubt that he is guilty of embezzling Kč 11 million of grant money from the Ministry of Environment and has demanded a prison sentence of five to seven years. If found guilty, Wolf will be the first Czech MP to be imprisoned for corruption.
The Czech Police have reportedly completed their investigation into the alleged payment of cash bribes by Vít Bárta, de facto leader of the Public Affairs (VV), to now-former party members and serving MPs, Jaroslav Škárka and Kristýna Kočí, and will recommend the state prosecution service to prosecute Bárta, the server aktualne.cz reported Tuesday.