Social Democrats want PM's business deals to be discussed in parliament

The opposition Social Democrats have issued a statement saying they will ask Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to explain the circumstances of the purchase of his Prague flat and a past business deal in parliament. On Friday the head of the party's deputies' group, Michal Hasek, stressed that Mr Topolanek's financial affairs will be among the top issues taken up by the Social Democrats in the chamber. Currently police are investigating allegations that the VAE company - in which Mr Topolanek had a stake - failed to repay part of a 70 million crown bank loan.

The issue under investigation is whether the new prime minister - then senator - sold his stake in the company and used the money to buy his family flat, rather than using the funds to repay part of VAE's debt. Earlier this week Mr Topolanek stated that the sale of his shares in the company - worth 2.5 million crowns or the equivalent of 111 thousand US dollars - was not irregular, as the shares were not blocked at the time. By then a new company had acquired the VAE claim. Mr Topolanek has accused his political rivals of manipulating the issue to try and weaken his party's position ahead of upcoming municipal and Senate elections.

Author: Jan Velinger