2013 Czech political corruption scandal

The Straka Academy, seat of the Government of the Czech Republic, was raided by police.

The 2013 Czech political corruption scandal started with a raid against organized crime which was conducted in the Czech Republic in June 2013 by the Police Unit for Combating Organized Crime (Czech: Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu, ÚOOZ) and the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office (Vrchní státní zastupitelství) in Olomouc. It involved several highly positioned state officers and politicians, as well as controversial entrepreneurs and lobbyists. The scandal affected the top levels of Czech politics, including Prime Minister Petr Nečas and his coalition government. On 17 June 2013, it resulted in the resignation of the Prime Minister and the cabinet. Nečas also quit as leader of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS).

Overview

The investigation of the case started in early 2012, according to Robert Šlachta, the head of the Unit for Combating Organized Crime. Ivo Ištvan, the Chief Public Prosecutor in Olomouc, confirmed that a total of 400 policemen were deployed in the raid.[1]

On 13 June 2013, some of the closest advisors and collaborators of the Czech Prime Minister, including Jana Nagyová, Managing Director of the Section of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic's Cabinet, and Lubomír Poul, Director of the Office of the Government, were arrested in association with unspecified misconduct. Ondrej Páleník, former head of the Military Intelligence Service; Milan Kovanda, current head of the Military Intelligence Service;[2] Ivan Fuksa, former Minister, and Petr Tluchoř, former Deputy, were among the arrested as well. The seat of the Government of the Czech Republic and offices of several influential Prague lobbyists were raided by police.[3][4] The whereabouts of Petr Nečas after the arrests were not known, however, later he announced that his confidence in Nagyová "had not decreased". He also denied speculation about his resignation.[5][6]

On 14 June 2013, the Unit for Combating Organized Crime and the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Olomouc announced that Nagyová and members of the Military Intelligence Service had been accused of abuse of power and corruption. Nagyová, one of the closest collaborators of the Prime Minister, allegedly misused the Intelligence Service to monitor Nečas' wife (among others)[7] without the official approval of the Defence Minister in late 2012. Her motives were, according to the police, purely private. Petr Nečas was in divorce proceedings when the scandal erupted.[8][9][10]

Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas resigned to his office due to this affair (pictured in May 2013, one month before the raid)

Additionally, the investigation targeted an organized group of lobbyists and state officers attempting to influence state institutions for their own enrichment. The Unit for Combating Organized Crime confiscated around CZK 120–150m ($7.8m[11]) in cash and tens of kilograms of gold during the raid. Eight people were charged with various offences.[10][12]

Nečas, under pressure from opposition parties and politicians, repeated his refusal to resign.[13] He issued an apology for the actions of Jana Nagyová and denied that he was aware of it. He also announced her retirement from the office.[14] ČSSD, the major opposition party, announced its intention to invoke a vote of no confidence[15] on 18 June 2013.

On 15 June, the District Court in Ostrava decided to take into custody Nagyová, Páleník, Tluchoř, Fuksa, Jan Pohůnek, former employee of the Military Intelligence Service, Marek Šnajdr, former Deputy, and Roman Boček, former employee of the Ministry of Agriculture.[16] Lubomír Poul was not charged and Milan Kovanda was released.[17][18]

On 16 June 2013, Petr Nečas announced that he would resign on Monday, 17 June 2013.[19] "I am fully aware of how the ups and downs of my personal life currently burden the political scene and ODS ... I want to emphasize that I'm aware of my political responsibility and I draw the consequences from that", he said.[20]

On 16 July 2013, the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic in Brno decided in favour of three former members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, Ivan Fuksa, Marek Šnajdr and Petr Tluchoř, on the grounds of their parliamentary immunity at the time of their involvement in the case. The three named persons were released from prison. Jana Nagyová and the other suspects were released from custody on 19 July 2013.[21] According to the court, the danger of influencing witnesses has passed, as key witnesses have already been interrogated.[22]

According to the Czech news websites, Nečas married Nagyová on 21 September 2013.[23][24]

In February 2014, Nečas was charged with bribery.[25]