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PM: Police, attorneys must prevent info leaks from files

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Prague, Aug 15 (CTK) – Primarily the police and state attorney’s offices must prevent information leaks from investigation files, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters after being questioned by the Chamber of Deputies commission investigating such info leaks on Tuesday.

If the commission concludes that laws must be amended, this will be up to the next government that will emerge from the October general election, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) added.

A series of measures must be taken to prevent information leaks from investigation files, however, state attorney’s offices are not a weak link in the system, Olomouc High State Attorney Ivo Istvan told reporters after his questioning by the lower house commission later on Tuesday.

The commission wanted to know how state attorney’s offices perceive information leaks, how many such cases the General Inspection of Security Corps (GIBS) was investigating and whether it found their source, Istvan said.

He added that he had informed the commission about the way of handling personal data at state attorney’s offices and about their control mechanisms.

Sobotka said his questioning had been relatively short and brief.

“There was no surprise. I could hardly testify about any particular affairs since I have nothing in common with any. I am not connected with any case of leaking information from criminal files,” Sobotka said.

The commission invited Sobotka at the suggestion of lower house deputy chairman Radek Vondracek (ANO) who was interested in a leaked e-mail of former Government Office head Ivan Prikryl. He allegedly wrote to Sobotka that he had looked into an open file in the case of the OKD mining company.

Sobotka called this “complete nonsense.”

He said the leak of the e-mails was caused by a criminal activity and that the police were investigating it on the basis of his criminal complaint.

“In no case, anything like that concerns me or anything connected with criminal files,” Sobotka said.

He also said he and the commission members had discussed his powers related to the GIBS. It falls under the PM.

On Tuesday, Vondracek called on commission chairman Martin Plisek (TOP 09) to resign from the post since he had released insider information to the media, in particular of what the police accused government ANO chairman Andrej Babis and ANO deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek. Vondracek also says Plisek’s statements do not reflect the whole commission’s opinion.

Plisek told reporters yesterday that Vondracek was just attempting to shift ANO’s problems to others and divert attention from them.

The Chamber of Deputies commission, set up on the initiative of the senior government CSSD, is checking possible illegal conduct in connection with unauthorised gaining of files of law enforcement bodies and whether these data were abused to influence political rivals or destabilise the democratic law-abiding state.

It focuses on the leak from an open police file in connection with audio recordings featuring Babis and journalist Marek Pribil from a daily he owned.

In the recordings, Babis and Pribil discuss prepared articles about Babis’s political rivals and the most suitable time for releasing such compromising material. Further recordings in which they debated the police investigation into some cases emerged later. However, Babis and Pribil denied having ever had police files on open cases in their hands.

Babis, who was dismissed from the coalition government in May due to his dubious business activities, says the recordings are manipulated and part of a campaign conducted against him before an October general election.

The commission plans to question Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO), Prague High State Attorney Lenka Bradacova, the former chief of the elite police organised crime squad (UOOZ), Robert Slachta, the head of the special police wiretapping and surveillance squad, Vladimir Sibor, and Bronislav Sabrsula, from the Police Presidium, in a week. Pribil is to be heard on August 29, Plisek told reporters.

The commission would like to complete the questioning in two weeks to start working on its final report that it should submit to the Chamber of Deputies’ plenary session by September 12, he said.

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