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Ex-PM denies offering lucrative posts to rebel deputies

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Prague, July 20 (CTK) – Petr Necas, former Czech prime minister facing corruption charges, dismissed today the accusation that he bribed three rebel deputies by promising them lucrative posts at conspiratory meetings, and told the court that he sought a compromise with them, not their departure from parliament.

Closed meetings are usual in politics, otherwise no agreement would ever be reached, Necas said.

Necas was Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman and prime minister in 2010-2013.

The suspected corruption scandal, which contributed to the Necas government’s fall in mid-2013, originated in 2012 when the ODS-led government failed to override the upper house’s veto and push its tax reform package through the Chamber of Deputies.

In the crucial vote, several ODS lawmakers, including Marek Snajdr, Ivan Fuksa and Petr Tluchor, voted against the bill together with the opposition.

The above three rebels later enabled the package’s passage by resigning as deputies. Immediately afterwards, Snajdr and Fuksa received lucrative posts in state-run companies.

According to the state attorney, the promise of cosy lucrative posts to the rebels amounted to bribery.

“I must categorically dismiss that a deal was struck between me and the three ODS lawmakers. This never happened and it is not true,” Necas told the court today.

He said the plaintiff mixed up several affairs that in fact have nothing in common.

In the autumn 2012, parallelly with the tax package debate, the ODS, suffering from an opinion split, held its election congress, Necas said.

“I wanted to find a political compromise so that all ODS deputies supported the tax package,” he said.

He said he planned to announce his departure from politics in September 2013 and he wanted to hand over the ODS to his successor as a consolidated party, no longer rocked by internal disputes.

Necas dismissed that the other two persons accused in the affair, his office’s former chief and current wife Jana Necasova (formerly Nagyova) and Roman Bocek, former deputy agriculture minister when Fuksa was minister, interfered in his negotiations with the three rebel deputies.

The two did not attend any crucial talks, Necas said, adding that they only arranged meetings between him and Tluchor.

“A huge personal tension, which could even be described as hostility, persisted between me and deputy Tluchor,” Necas said and mentioned his contribution to Tluchor’s previous unseating as head of the ODS deputies’ group.

It was Necasova and Bocek’s task to attenuate the personal tension, Necas said.

He said the tax package would have been passed even if the three rebels had not supported it.

“I did not need their votes, so why should I have bribed these deputies?” Necas said.

If found guilty, Necas and Bocek face up to six years in prison. Necasova faces an eight-year sentence because she has also been accused of tax evasion in connection with expensive gifts she received.


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