Czech MEP suspends membership in STAN party over links with lobbyist at centre of corruption scandal

MEP Stanislav Polčák has suspended his membership in the Mayors and Independents party (STAN) because of his former links to businessman and lobbyist Michal Redl who is at the centre of a huge corruption scandal involving bribery, involvement in organized crime and suspicions of illicit drug and psychotropic substance use. The MEP rejected comparisons with the former Prague deputy mayor, Petr Hlubuček, who is among the eleven people charged in the case, but said he did not want to hurt the party through his former contacts. He made no mention of giving up his mandate as an MEP. Redl is a lobbyist with a shady past who is known to have had close links to Radovan Krejčíř, a Czech former organized crime boss and convicted criminal who is serving a prison term in South Africa.

Education Minister Petr Gazdík on Sunday resigned from both his government and party posts when it emerged that he had had several meetings with Mr. Redl and communicated with him via encrypted messages.