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Communist MEP asks for suspending EP group membership

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Strasbourg, France, Dec 16 (CTK special correspondent) – Czech Communist (KSCM) MEP Miloslav Ransdorf asked on Wednesday the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) EP group to suspend his membership until the case of his detention in a Swiss bank in early December is clarified, he has told CTK.

Ransdorf was explaining his case at an extraordinary meeting of the GUE/NGL group, held within the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he said in an interview with CTK and public Czech Radio.

The spokesman for the office of GUE/NGL chairwoman Gabriele Zimmer said the debate on the Ransdorf case was the only point in the meeting’s agenda.

“The group’s leadership has accepted my position, which means that I will suspend the activities that are connected with the GUE/NGL political group until the whole matter is resolved,” Ransdorf said.

He added that he had explained the case to the EP group.

“I presented the protocol that was actually signed in Zurich to the group’s leadership,” he said, adding that he had also conveyed the stance of the KSCM central committee to them.

Asked whether the EP group had accepted his explanation, Ransdorf said they respected “the presumption of innocence.”

Ransdorf said he would fulfil all duties of an MEP until the Swill investigation was completed. “I will only not execute the tasks that are directly connected with the EP group’s work,” he added.

The GUE/NGL said in its press release it would respect the presumption of innocence by the end of the investigation. Its leadership approved the suspension of Ransdorf´s membership unanimously.

The Swiss police detained Ransdorf along with three Slovaks in a bank in Zurich on suspicion of a financial fraud on December 3. Ransdorf, who denies any wrongdoing, and two of the Slovaks were released later.

The state attorney’s office launched criminal proceedings with them over property delicts later.

Ransdorf, 62, historian and philosopher by profession and a former Czech lawmaker, claims that he only wanted to mediate communication between the bank and its client, called V.H., from whom he had the full power of attorney.

Ransdorf also confirmed that he had heard the charges in Switzerland.

He said he could not have forged the bank documents since he had received them closely ahead of the meeting in the Zurich bank.

Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said previously Ransdorf and the Slovaks had attempted to transfer a high sum on the basis of false documents in Switzerland. The sum concerned was allegedly 350 million euros.

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