Wednesday, 16 May 2018

SPD rejects media speculation about campaign's funding

ČTK |
1 February 2018

Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) - Czech right-wing populist Tomio Okamura dismissed the claim that the financing of the election campaign of his Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement was not transparent, labelling it a disgusting media campaign against the SPD on Facebook on Wednesday.

The server of daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Wednesday that the SPD paid 4.5 million crowns for PR services and 2.9 million crowns for analyses two days before the deadline for submitting the report on the financing of the campaign expired.

It writes that the SPD paid four times more for PR services than the Pirates whose result was the same in the autumn general election - 22 MPs in the 200-seat lower house of parliament. It paid two times more than the victorious ANO movement that gained 78 MPs, iDnes.cz server writes.

The server writes the SPD paid the money about three months after the election, while these payments are usually made immediately.

Okamura rejected the view that the SPD financing was non-transparent. He said iDnes.cz was part of the media outlet owned by ANO leader and current prime minister Andrej Babis and its journalists only wanted to defame the SPD.

Both sums were paid to the Play Net firm that provided voter analyses, election campaigns and strategic planning to the SPD, Okamura said. "Any big political party secures such services and the election results showed that our campaign was excellent," he said.

The Play Net firm is owned by Jan Fulin who is linked to the private TV Barrandov, according to the Info.cz server. The firm's representative is Radomir Pekarek who heads the Prvni zpravy.cz server which is one of the disinformation websites according to the European Values think tank.

In the previous election period, the Dawn movement led by Okamura disintegrated over financial disputes. A part of the Dawn politicians accused Okamura of cheating the movement of its money through payments for fictitious PR services. Okamura was expelled from Dawn. Dawn did not run in the elections held in October 2017, while Okamura founded the anti-EU and anti-Islam SPD and his new movement became the fourth most successful party.

Okamura wrote on Facebook on Wednesday he did not siphon any money from the party and has never been charged with any such crime.

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