State officials, ex-lawmakers detained in massive raid

Aktualne.cz, Ivan Eckhardt
13. 6. 2013 17:04
State officials and former lawmakers were detained by Czech anti-organized crime police squad, UOOZ, in biggest raid in Czech history
Prime Minister's office head Jana Nagyova, reportedly one of the arrested
Prime Minister's office head Jana Nagyova, reportedly one of the arrested | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

UPDATES: Defense Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek confirmed to Aktualne.cz that the ministry had been raided by the UOOZ. "Any further information can be provided only by police," said Pejsek. The iDnes website wrote that police also raided the Chamber of Deputies, the Prague City Hall and the offices of the Lesy CR state forestry firm. According to state Czech Television, the UOOZ raided sites in Southern Bohemia and the offices of businessman Ivo Rittig in Prague.

The Ceska Pozice website reported that the anti-corruption police squad has a list of approximately 35 or 40 people to arrest. This information has been reportedly leaked to some of these people in advance.

Interior Minister Jan Kubice said that what is being called a raid at the Office of the Government was actually a "visit by the UOOZ director and two state attorneys".

Czech semi-state energy giant CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz said that the company has not been raided by police.

12:30 pm CET

Prague City Hall spokeswoman Iva Vojtkova confirmed that the headquarters was raided by police, but they came only for documents related to certain contracts awarded by the city of Prague. No arrests were made, said Vojtkova. Sources from the city hall said that the documents in question are related to 13 older contracts awarded by Jiri Toman in the era of former Mayor Pavel Bem.

The ihned.cz online newspaper said that police is looking for senior managers of Kardio Port, a company that has been awarded a suspicious CZK 2 billion (EUR 78 million) contract by Prague's IKEM hospital.

12:55 pm CET

Already reported among the arrested are also Roman Bocek, former Deputy Agriculture Minister and current state Czech Railways board member, and Ondrej Palenik, former Military Intelligence chief and current Administration of State Material Reserves (SSHR) head.

3:08 pm CET

According to the Pravo daily newspaper, police raided a branch of Komercni Banka, a major Czech bank, in Wenceslas Square in order to seize items from safety deposit boxes.

The iDnes online newspaper wrote that masked and armed policemen left the offices of Roman Janousek's company in Prague in a police car with three women, probably the company's employees.

Sources say that the raid on the Defense Ministry was directed at the military intelligence agency.

3:48 pm CET

UOOZ spokesman Pavel Hantak said at an improvised press conference broadcast by Czech Television that the ongoing raid has been prepared for months and is related to the Office of the Government and the regions of Prague, Central Bohemia and East Bohemia. Hantak said that the detained are being interrogated and police is also conducting searches of houses and other sites.

5:04 pm CET

Office of the Government director Lubomir Poul and current Military Intelligence chief Milan Kovanda are also reported as being among the detained.

Petr Tluchor's lawyer Marek Nespala said that his client is investigated for possible corruption in relation to his resignation as MP last year.

Lobbyists Roman Janousek and Ivo Rittig and another former "ODS rebel", Marek Snajdr, have also been mentioned in relation to the raid. The three men are currently abroad - Janousek and Rittig are in Croatia, Snajdr's whereabouts are unknown. It has been speculated that they were informed about the planned raid in advance and left the country to avoid arrest.

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The original story is here:

Prague - The Czech Office of the Government and other sites all over the country were raided by members of the Czech Republic's top organized crime police squad, UOOZ, which reportedly arrested several former members of parliament and senior state officials.

The operation started on Thursday night, is still ongoing and it is the UOOZ's largest raid ever.

The iDnes website reported that the arrested include former ODS deputy group chief Petr Tluchor, former Agriculture Minister Ivan Fuksa (ODS), Prime Minister Petr Necas's office head Jana Nagyova, and Administration of State Material Reserves (SSHR) chief Ondrej Palenik,

Tluchor and Fuksa are two of the so-called "ODS rebels" who refused to vote for the government's tax hike bill last year, but eventually resigned on their MP mandates, which allowed the coalition to pass the bill. The "rebels" allegedly did this in exchange for lucrative posts in state companies.

End of rebellion in ODS: Everyone has their price

Czech media also speculate that the ongoing raid is linked to Prague's municipal politicians and influential figures ("godfathers") or the country's largest health insurance company, VZP. The Tyden.cz website wrote that police also raided the offices of lobbyist Roman Janousek.

Blog: Five families that rule Czech Republic

Aktualne.cz has learned that the operation is based on hundreds of hours of wiretap recording of Janousek.

Wiretap scandal threatens senior govt party ODS

"I can confirm that the operation is still ongoing, at this moment we are not giving any information. We will try to specify when it is possible to release some details," said UOOZ spokesman Pavel Hantak, adding that the operation is supervised by the Olomouce State Attorney's Office.

More details to come...

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