Monday, 29 April 2019

MfD: General loses clearance due to women, Russian links

ČTK |
15 December 2015

Prague, Dec 14 (CTK) - General Rostislav Pilc, who will step down from the post of Czech presidential military office´s head because he lost the required security clearance, was stripped of the clearance due to his relations to women and his Russian neighbours, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Monday.

Two weeks ago, it turned out that the National Security Office (NBU) removed the clearance of a strictly confidential level from Pilc, which meant his end in the post.

However, Pilc´s lawyer Daniel Volak said the vetting procedure might have been manipulated.

According to MfD, Pilc was not granted the clearance mainly due to information that the NBU received from his former colleagues and subordinates from the military intelligence service.

"It also concerned links to Russians and his excessive affection for women," a source from the intelligence circles told the paper.

Volak dismissed the information, calling it ridiculous. "This is old information that concerned his present wife," he said, adding that the information was about six year old.

Affairs with women are considered a security risk as an official may be blackmailed more easily due to them, MfD says.

Some of the information about Pilc gained from the former colleagues was considered untrustworthy or biased, yet a part of the criticism was assessed as reliable, the paper writes.

A source close to the Defence Ministry told the paper that the unlawful spying scandal of prime minister´s office head Jana Nagyova-Necasova was not the reason why Pilc was stripped of the vetting.

"This case played no role," source said.

Volak believes that the opposite is true. He said the manipulation of the vetting procedure may be connected with the Nagyova case.

Daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote previously that Pilc was harmed by the Nagyova case. Pilc, who headed the military intelligence in 2013-2014, is a witness in the Nagyova trial. Unlike the military intelligence officials involved in the case, Pilc claimed that the surveillance ordered by Nagyova was against law.

"After General Pilc left for the Prague Castle (the president´s military office), his former subordinates stopped being afraid of talking. He has made a lot of enemies everywhere," the source close to the ministry said.

MfD writes that it seems odd that Pilc has suddenly become a security threat to the country, although he was not considered a threat one year ago when he headed the military intelligence.

It is rather unlikely that all Pilc´s problems would concern the past 12 months, the paper writes.

In 2001-2006, Pilc was a military attache in Moscow. Some of his problematic contacts with Russians allegedly date from his Moscow stay, MfD writes.

Four years ago, Pilc bough a luxurious flat in the Prague Marina residential project. Part of the flats are owned by Russian citizens, including Gazprom Export Czech branch head Yevgeny Kashitsyn and Vladimir Ermakov, director of Vemex gas group, which is Gazprom´s subsidiary.

Volak said the NBU did not mention these neighbours in its decision to strip Pilc of the clearance.

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