ABL accused of investigating politicians

The daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Thursday revealed that a former Prague district mayor had been intensively monitored by a detective agency four years ago. On Friday the plot thickened, with the paper asserting that a multitude of officials at the Prague 11 town hall had been clandestinely investigated and that detectives with ties to the coalition’s Public Affairs party were responsible. Both the government and the opposition are now calling for answers.

Marta Šorfová
Someone spent a lot of time in early 2006 gathering a slew of information on Marta Šorfová – then the Civic Democratic mayor of Prague 11 and now the head of the party’s main office – photographing her movements, trailing her children and even absconding with the contents of her waste bins. The daily Mladá fronta Dnes says the investigation was a concerted effort to discredit her undertaken by the country’s largest security and detective agency ABL.

While ABL denies involvement, Mladá fronta claims to have electronic reports traceable back to the company that scrutinise the intimate and legally-protected personal data of not only Ms. Šorfová, but at least half a dozen officials then serving at the town hall.

The political ramifications of the case go beyond what the Prime Minister, Petr Nečas, called his shock and horror at the revelation that even children were surveilled. ABL, or the Agency of the White Lion, was founded by Vít Bárta, grey eminence of the Public Affairs party, who sold the firm to his brother before becoming Minister of Transport. A number of former ABL employees also staff the party’s ministries.

As the prime minister called for a police investigation, the opposition Social Democrats have called for the interior and transport ministers to step down should ABL’s involvement in the case be proven.