PM: lobbyist’s influence now nil, dealings appear unethical

Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said that dealings in 2007 between controversial lobbyist Roman Janoušek and then-mayor Pavel Bém appear unethical, citing wiretap recordings by the counter-intelligence service BIS, that were recently leaked. Mr Nečas made the statement in an interview for the Czech daily Lidové noviny; he stopped short of calling the dealings unlawful, saying that was up to the proper authorities to determine.

In the scandal that unraveled this week, former Prague mayor Pavel Bém, once considered the Civic Democrats’ “crown prince”, was revealed discussing who should be appointed to head a state-owned insurance company with lobbyist Roman Janoušek - revealing the extent of the latter's influence. In his interview for Lidové noviny, Prime Minister Nečas stressed that any influence lobbyist Janoušek had had, had long been nullified and that Pavel Bém himself, a former deputy chairman in the Civic Democrats, had lost all previous functions since 2010.

Mr Janoušek made headlines this week not only because of the leak but also for drunk driving and abandoning the scene of an accident on Friday – a crash in which a 51-year-old woman was seriously injured.

Author: Jan Velinger