Prague - The Czech Police's organized crime unit, ÚOOZ, appears to have made a serious blunder: The detectives have lost a mobile phone they seized from a journalists.
The phone, which belonged to Jiří Hynek from the commercial TV station Nova, contained numbers of the Czech prime minister, other cabinet members and representatives of Czech security forces.
The ÚOOZ seized Hynek's mobile after Aktuálně.cz published video footage of a secret meeting in Prague's hotel Savoy between Jiří Weigel, an aide to President Václav Klaus, and Miroslav Šlouf, a lobbyist suspected of contacts with organized crime. The meeting took place in February before the presidential election.
Despite not being in any way involved in the case, Hynek was summoned by ÚOOZ for an interrogation, as were some other journalists who were not linked with the Savoy affair either. The detectives took away Hynek's phone during the interrogation.
The TV station later asked the ÚOOZ to return the phone, but the detectives said they had lost it, Hynek told Aktuálně.cz.
Yet, the elite police unit claim they are innocent. "We didn't make any mistake. Our people didn't lose anything," said the ÚOOZ spokesman Pavel Hanták.
The "our people" part is important here. Aktuálně.cz has learned that the phone disappeared while being examined by an expert witness. The problem is that it was the ÚOOZ, not the expert, who seized it.
Why was ÚOOZ interested?
Neither the police nor Interior Minister Ivan Langer have been able to explain why the special police force, designed to fight organized crime and corruption, was interested in the Savoy affair, since the leak of the video footage of the meeting has been investigated by other police units.
PM Mirek Topolánek had accused Karel Randák, former head of the civilian intelligence service, of having leaked the video footage. No evidence supporting the premier's claim has been presented yet.