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Party leaders disclose wealth

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Leaders of the country’s most powerful political parties have disclosed their personal property holdings ahead of October’s elections. Only ODS chairman Mirek Topolánek refused HN’s request for information about his net worth.

The richest party leader is Karel Schwarzenberg, chairman of TOP 09. Among Schwarzenberg’s reported properties are estates in Čimelice, Karlov, Rakovice, Hraběšín, Kutná Hora-Sedlec and many others, as well as real estate in Germany and Austria. Schwarzenberg has CZK 700,000 in the bank and roughly CZK 9 million more in other financial vehicles.

ČSSD chairman Jiří Paroubek lives in a flat which belongs to his wife. He has a cottage in the country but does not own a car. The former prime minister has CZK 700,000 on his account and has slightly less that amount in debt. Details regarding his property have not changed following his divorce in 2007.

Cyril Svoboda, leader of the Christian Democrats, has CZK 4.5 million put away in mutual funds. Svoboda says he earned the money from the sale of a house in 2008, but in an assets declaration in June 2009, he reported the sale proceeds as CZK 3.5 million.

“From the sale of the house, which I had inherited, I put CZK 3.5 million in funds and not quite another million in the family savings,” Svoboda said, adding that the different figures do not represent a contradiction. “In two separate instances, I was asked two different questions.”

Communist Party chairman Vojtěch Filip told HN that he has on his account “approximately three months’ salary” (as an MP, Filip’s gross monthly salary is CZK 117,000). He drives a Škoda Fabia.

The least forthcoming of all the political leaders HN polled was ODS leader Mirek Topolánek. “All my liabilities, and information regarding my income, are publicly available at the Senate office, as required by law. Anyone who wants to confirm these details may do so,” he told HN.

Topolánek’s response was not entirely accurate. According to the law on conflicts of interest, politicians do not declare the entirety of the property but only changes in their holdings for a given year. According to the land registry, Topolánek owns a house in Čeladná and a flat in Prague’s Hradčany district.

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