Education Minister Petr Gazdik resigns amid huge corruption scandal

Education Minister Petr Gazdik has resigned as education minister and deputy chair of the STAN party in connection with the corruption scandal linked to the Prague Transport Company. Eleven people have been charged altogether in the case involving bribery, involvement in organized crime and suspicions of illicit drug and psychotropic substance use.

Petr Gazdik is not among those charged but he is reported to have had several meetings with one of the people involved, Prague businessman Michal Redl who in the past had close links to Radovan Krejčíř, a Czech former organized crime boss and convicted criminal who is serving a prison term in South Africa.

Minister Gazdik said he was innocent of any wrongdoing but did not want to damage his party or the ruling coalition by remaining in office. He admitted that meeting with Michal Redl had been a mistake.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala has welcomed Mr. Gazdik's resignation, saying it signaled a positive shift in the country's political culture.