Former prime minister fails bar exam

Stanislav Gross, photo: CTK

News has emerged that the former Czech prime minister Stanislav Gross has failed his bar exam. For Gross, this latest story is just one of a series of negative reports that have appeared about the former PM ever since he hit the spotlight as the country’s youngest ever prime minister.

Stanislav Gross,  photo: CTK
The Stanislav Gross era is undoubtedly one that most Czechs would like to forget. What started out as a promising premiership soon descended into debacle. Mr. Gross served as prime minister from August 2004 to April 2005. During those brief months, the then 35 year-old PM essentially went from one scandal to the next. The most significant of these was related to a loan Mr. Gross borrowed in order to purchase a new flat in Prague. The flat was worth far more than his parliamentary salary – so the question remained – where did he get the money to buy it? No viable explanations were forthcoming, and soon the media broke another story that Mr. Gross’s wife had business ties to a brothel owner suspected of fraud and money laundering. For months after these stories broke, the prime minister refused to resign, while his Social Democratic party sank to new lows in the polls. Yet another scandal surrounding alleged corruption during the privatization of the Czech chemical conglomerate Unipetrol to a Polish company proved the final blow – ministers threatened to pull out of the government and bring down the coalition - and the embattled PM finally resigned.

Since his resignation from office, Mr. Gross has worked in the legal and business professions. He has occasionally returned to the attention of the Czech media who frequently characterize him as an embodiment of someone who is not only inept and corrupt, but also who is not very good at concealing this alleged corruption and ineptitude. Mr. Gross’s post-premiership professional life has often appeared equally murky. Recently, media reports emerged that Mr. Gross had become a significant shareholder in a company known as Moravia Energo. He had managed to buy the shares – estimated to be worth 300 million crowns, in part, because of an alleged loan of 13 million crowns by a company called Key Investments. This company had various ties to government contracts. Questions about Mr. Gross’s business dealings, were again raised, while Moravia Energo faced embarrassment for its association with the unpopular, scandal-hit former PM.

Since then, Mr. Gross has also been trying to make it as a lawyer, thus Wednesday’s reports that he has failed his bar exam will come as yet another embarrassment to the former PM. Mr. Gross will be eligible to repeat the exam after six months. He has ruled out a return to politics in the near future.