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Mazánek to head new police unit fighting organised crime

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Prague, July 8 (CTK) – Michal Mazanek will be the director of the new National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ) that will start operating on August 1 and comprise of the Czech police anti-mafia and anti-corruption squads, Police Presidium spokesman Jozef Bocan told CTK on Friday.

Bocan said Deputy Police President Zdenek Laube accepted the recommendation of the selection committee and decided on the appointment of Mazanek.

However, Mazanek was the only senior police officer who entered the competition for the post.

The planned police shake-up caused a dispute between the government parties, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the ANO movement. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD) signed the plan that ANO challenged. In protest against the shake-up, anti-mafia squad head Robert Slachta recently resigned from his post.

Slachta became known for the investigation of several big cases, including suspected political corruption and abuse of intelligence linked to former prime minister’s office head Jana Nagyova. This case led to the fall of the government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) in mid-2013, but most of the suspicions still have not been proved.

Mazanek has been a police officer for 31 years. He was a senior detective specialising in murder cases, also dealing with old unsolved murders. He has been the head of the national office for criminal police and investigation since January.

The controversial police shake-up will be checked by a parliamentary investigation commission that is to deal with the arguments of policemen and state attorneys who challenged the planned merger of the two elite police squads. Slachta claims that the police managers primarily want to gain control over the cases the elite detectives investigate.

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