Prague - Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka removed the state Land Fund´s head Petr Stovicek from his post today due to Stovicek´s ties to lobbyist Ivo Rittig accused of money laundering, Jurecka said at a press conference.
Ministr zemědělství Marian Jurečka z KDU-ČSL (na snímku) odvolal 24. února ústředního ředitele Státního pozemkového úřadu Petra Šťovíčka. Důvodem jsou jeho vazby na obviněného lobbistu Rittiga. ČTK Šimánek Vít
"It is impossible to tolerate that such a high-ranking state official meets with people like Mr Rittig," Jurecka said.
Rittig has been accused of money laundering in the case of tickets for Prague public transport company DPP.
The Land Fund will now be managed by the director´s deputy Veronika Nedvedova.
Jurecka decided to remove Stovicek from the post because Stovicek was unable to satisfactorily explain to him information that had appeared in the media.
"He lost my confidence and this is why I have removed him," Jurecka said.
Jurecka met Stovicek today and asked him to explain his visit at Rittig´s birthday party. According to information from television Nova, Stovicek gave to Rittig a painting on which Rittig is depicted as Greek god Zeus.
"The explanation that an invitation from Mr Ivo Rittig cannot be rejected is no explanation at all for me," Jurecka said.
The police have accused five people in the case. According to earlier information in the media, DPP signed a disadvantageous contract for the production of tickets with company Neograph. The contract was mediated by company Cokeville Assets.
Neograph reportedly paid 17 hellers per each produced ticket to Cokeville Assets. The Anti-Corruption Foundation claims that the money probably went to Rittig.
Rittig has rejected the fund´s claims and the police accusation.