Friday, 25 April 2014

Police shelve corruption complaint against FinMin

ČTK |
20 March 2013

Prague, March 19 (CTK) - The Czech police have shelved the case of Finance Minister and TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek who was investigated on suspicion of having accepted a bribe for permitting Internet odds betting, Prague State Attorney Office's spokeswoman Stepanka Zenklova told CTK.

She said the state attorney approved the police's decision, which has taken effect. As no damaged parties were involved in this case, there was no one to complain against its shelving, she said.

The police checked the suspicion that Kalousek, while finance minister for the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) in a previous cabinet, in 2008 gave the green light to Internet betting in the Czech Republic in exchange for a bribe of several million crowns, given to him by Penta investment group boss Marek Dospiva.

The police say the suspicion of a crime having been committed has not been confirmed.

The complaint against Kalousek was lodged by former Public Affairs (VV) deputy chairman Tomas Jarolim in late 2011.

According to the previous information published by the daily Pravo, the police checked the suspicion of abuse of power and bribe taking by Kalousek, and of bribe giving by Dospiva.

Both Kalousek and Dospiva dismissed the accusations.

The police shelved the case in spring 2012 for the first time, saying they uncovered nothing that would enable them to launch prosecution. The state attorney, nevertheless, then said the shelving was premature and he returned the case to the police for further investigation.

Jarolim then said he had told the police about witnesses who could confirm the corruption suspicion.

Penta's property includes the Fortuna betting company that sought an Internet betting licence for a long time. The licence was issued in 2008 to the companies Fortuna, Sazka, Synot Tip, Tipsport and Chance for ten years.

In the past, the junior ruling TOP 09 received 11 million crowns as a sponsor gift from Brno-based businessman Dusan Novotny.

Pravo wrote about speculations that the money in fact came from Penta, which bought a pharmacy network from Novotny in 2004.

The police are checking whether Penta sent money to TOP 09 via Novotny as an intermediatory.

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