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Babiš: Leaks from files seem to trigger Czech police shake-up

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Prague, July 20 (CTK) – Czech Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) believes that the impulse for the controversial police shake-up, within which the anti-corruption and anti-mafia squads will merge, was the case of leaks from police files that appeared in May, he said after a cabinet meeting yesterday.
The cabinet discussed Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman’s comments on the planned shake-up. The new National Centre against Organised Crime is to start operating on August 1.
The new Centre will not have the right to deal with this new case, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK through his spokeswoman Lucie Novakova.
State attorneys will decide on who will continue investigating this case, said Chovanec, who signed the controversial police merger in June.
He said it is crucial that the police shake-up does not affect any open cases.
Following a three-year-long investigation, three police officials were accused of abuse of power and bribe taking in relation to leaks of information from criminal proceedings and security databases in May. According to Czech Radio (CRo), the accused are former policeman Igor Gaborik, anti-corruption detective Radek Holub and former customs officer Pavel Sima.
The anti-mafia police (UOOZ) investigated the case, although it is the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIBS) that usually deals with similar cases.
Babis told journalists that nothing was explained to ANO about the planned shake-up.
Chovanec said the ANO movement is making the police shake-up a part of its election campaign because it found out that it has no other issues before the autumn regional elections.
Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) said Chovanec and Police President Tomas Tuhy yesterday assured the cabinet that all Pavel Zeman’s comments will be dealt with.
The planned police shake-up caused a sharp dispute between ANO and the CSSD and Babis’s party even threatened to leave the government due to it.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said the discussion with state attorneys about the police restructuring should have started before Chovanec signed the plan.

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