Wednesday, 5 August 2020

LN: Zeman's "unpaid adviser" enjoys many privileges

ČTK |
8 June 2016

Prague, June 7 (CTK) - Businessman Martin Nejedly, 49, adviser to President Milos Zeman in charge of energy issues, enjoys a privileged position though he is not an official employee of the Presidential Office, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
Apart from a luxurious office at Prague Castle that he can use for free, the Presidential Office also pays his assistant. Moreover, Nejedly flies aboard a government plane and enjoys a diplomatic passport, LN says.
Yet Zeman claims Nejedly does not cost a single crown from tax-payers' pockets. "He is not an employee of Prague Castle and does not get any official financial reward," Zeman said.
His office also uses this argument when explaining why it has not released Nejedly's detailed CV to media for three years, LN adds.
However, it writes, the "unpaid adviser" Nejedly is not completely for free.
Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek admitted that Nejedly can use an assistant from the secretariat of the Presidential Office, but he refused to release her salary. Nevertheless, she does not work as Nejedly's assistant only, but she also fulfils other organisational and administrative tasks, Ovcacek said.
However, according to LN sources, Nejedly can use the assistant's services whenever he wants.
LN writes that Nejedly is a close friend of and aide to Vratislav Mynar, head of the Presidential Office, and this is why it is logical that Mynar provides everything for Nejedly.
Exactly Nejedly and Mynar decide who can meet Zeman and under what conditions, LN says.
Nejedly, along with Mynar, also accompanied Zeman during his visit to Moscow to attend the 70th anniversary of the Victory last year when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, and during the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Prague in the autumn, LN writes.
Nejedly was former executive of the Lukoil Aviation Czech firm, a branch of the Russian oil concern, which recently had to pay a contractual fine of some 30 million crowns to the Czech state. Zeman previously made the payment a condition for Nejedly remaining in the post of his adviser.
Former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who headed the Presidential Office under Vaclav Havel in the 1990s, expressed surprise at the advantages of Nejedly. He said such practices had been out of question at Prague Castle in the past.
"Nejedly is indigestible. Russians should at least pay an assistant to their man at the Castle," Schwarzenberg told LN.

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