published: 02.11.2013, 13:54 | updated: 02.11.2013 16:11:38
Prague - The Czech police have filed criminal charges against Public Affairs (VV) head and former minister Vit Barta over the leak of wiretapped phone calls of former Prague mayor Pavel Bem, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today without specifying the charges or its source of information.
The police detained Barta, along with anti-corruption police analytical and IT section head Jan Petrzilek, on Thursday. Barta was released on Friday evening.
Like Barta, Petrzilek also faces police prosecution, MfD writes.
Barta has not commented on the case, he only wrote on his website that he has not committed any unlawful act.
The wiretapped phone conversations between Bem (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) and entrepreneur Roman Janousek from 2007 show that Janousek strongly influenced the Prague City Hall´s decision making when Bem was mayor (2002-2010).
MfD published the transcript recordings in March 2012. It wrote the calls were wiretapped by the counter-intelligence service (BIS) in 2007 and in 2009 they leaked from the BIS to the ABL private security agency (now Mark2 Corporation Czech) then owned by Barta.
For one and a half year now, the law enforcement bodies have been checking whether the wiretappings were really made by the BIS, in connection with a suspected abuse of power and endangering classified information.
According to some media, the now detained police Petrzilek worked for the BIS before joining the anti-corruption police.
A witness, whose identity has been kept secret, told the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIBS), which assists in the investigation, that it was Petrzilek who provided the recorded Bem-Janousek conversations to Barta in 2009.
The state attorney and the GIBS would not comment on the case, citing the law on the protection of classified information.
The VV was the smallest member of the centre-right government including also the ODS and TOP 09 from 2010. In 2012, the VV split and moved into opposition. In view of its very low voter preferences, it did not run in the general election on October 25-26.
Barta was brought to court in another case in the past.
He was charged with bribing two MPs for the VV, then a junior government party, into loyalty.
In April 2012, a district court sentenced Barta to 18 months in prison with a probation for bribing two fellow VV MPs into loyalty. However, the appeals court cancelled the verdict and acquitted him of bribery charges earlier this year.
Jaroslav Skarka, a former VV deputy who was tried along with Barta for suspected bribe taking and also acquitted, commented on Barta´s detention for CTK today.
If the media information proves true, it would prove "Barta´s criminal behaviour and his effort to seize power in the Czech Republic via blackmailing significant persons and using illegally gained information for this purpose," Skarka said.
He said in the past he personally gave police pieces of evidence providing that the ABL agency was spying on Barta´s political rivals and that ABL gained sensitive data from police databases.
"Vit Barta tried to plant his loyal people in all police units. As a result, the number of Barta´s aides, not only in the anti-corruption police but even at the police helm...is definitely higher," Skarka wrote to CTK.
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