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Man murdered after opposition leader’s book launch

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The son of fairgrounds operator Václav Kočka was murdered Thursday night at Prague’s downtown restaurant Monarch an hour after opposition leader Jiří Paroubek launched his new book there. Entrepreneur Bohumír Ďuričko, Paroubek’s alleged acquaintance, stands accused of the murder.

Shortly after the launch party ended at around 10pm, there were reports that Ďuričko shot at 40-year-old Kočka Jr after a brief argument. The victim’s body was taken away around 3am. At this point the wife of the deceased fainted. Police completed on-site investigation at 4:20am, according to Czech TV.

“Two customers were involved in an argument. A 40-year-old man remained at the site, succumbing to his injuries. The shooter, whom police have detained at the crime scene, is a 55-year-old man,” said Prague police spokesman Ladislav Bernášek.

All Paroubek’s friends
Paroubek told Czech TV the murder was a personal tragedy for him because the deceased was one of his friends. He repeated this statement at a press conference and refuted that he had any ties with Ďuričko, saying the book launch was an open event.

According to early commentaries, the shooting can once again cast a negative light on Paroubek’s contacts and can be used against him in his regional election campaign.

“I am the mother of a son who just got killed by some fucking bastard. My son was a decent man, and he never harmed anyone in his entire life. He was murdered in front of all the people who were there, including my husband. He fainted and so did I,” Kočková told Rádio Impuls.

“Whether there is some political motive behind this, if someone from the ODS instigated this, or if it was someone else – I don’t know. I wasn’t there. My son never did any business with that man. He bumped him off because he was being rude to my husband and my son told him to stop.”

The Kubice Report
The name of Václav Kočka, the father of the deceased, as well as the name of the suspected killer, Bohumír Ďuričko, appeared in the media two years ago in connection with the so-called Kubice Report. In the report, Jan Kubice, the then-head of the Czech police’s organised crime unit, wrote about alleged ties between politicians and organised crime.

According to the report, Václav Kočka was a suspect in the murder of controversial entrepreneur František Mrázek. Kočka, according to some sources, served at the time as adviser to then Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek. Paroubek has denied this.

Bohumír Ďuričko, who once collaborated with the communist-era secret police, StB, was identified in the Kubice Report as Paroubek’s acquaintance.

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