“What appeared on the Seznam server – that one of the people who was supposed to be a gift for the STAN movement is being prosecuted – was new information for us. (…) We verify this particular gift. If anyone is found guilty, we will automatically and quickly return the gift at that moment, “said Vít Rakušan at a press conference after the government of Petr Fiala (ODS) gained confidence.
Tomio Okamura sharply criticized the STAN and the Austrian at the beginning of this morning’s extraordinary meeting. “It’s such a gigantic and absurd conflict of interest that perhaps each of you will understand,” said the head of the SPD. The disputes over the financing of STAN were also connected with last year’s meeting with the police president Jan Švejdar, who subsequently announced his resignation. According to Okamura, the Austrian “ousted” the police president.
As the agenda of the extraordinary meeting did not pass – only 85 of the 179 Members present voted for it, 90 votes were needed – no one but the Members with priority had the right to speak. In the case of the SPD, these are only Okamura and the club’s chairman Radim Fiala. However, Okamura also returned to the topic during the evening meeting on confidence in the government. He demanded that the Prime Minister call on STAN President Vít Rakušan to clarify the financing of the movement and that he also propose to President Austrian the removal from the government.
Opposition deputies asked for an extraordinary meeting not because of recent listings, but because of previous information that donations to STAN allegedly came from abroad.
According to the Austrian, all the donations his movement received are either from Czech citizens or from companies with a Czech identification number and registered office in the Czech Republic, which pay taxes and employ workers in the Czech Republic. “Give a criminal report, let the Police of the Czech Republic investigate it, and it will turn out that the STAN movement did not break any law,” the Austrian called on Okamura.
However, Alena Schillerová, chairwoman of the ANO parliamentary group, questioned the Austrian’s arguments. According to her, they also have Czech ID numbers and companies that no one would claim to be Czech. “I really don’t consider it transparent, nor do I consider it something that’s right,” she said. According to her, the key question is who are the people behind these companies.
The promise that the STAN movement would return the money if it turned out that the one who sent it had committed a crime was not enough for the Schillers. “There he shouldn’t even say the chairman of the STAN movement that he will have it investigated, he should return it immediately,” she said.
At an extraordinary meeting, the opposition wanted to pass a resolution calling on the Prime Minister to remove the Austrian from the post of Minister of the Interior and replace him with a nominee outside the Mayor’s Group. SPD chairman Tomio Okamura also called for the STAN movement to be set up after the creation of the House Commission of Inquiry. According to him, the SPD and ANO already have forty parliamentary signatures, so that the Chamber of Deputies has to discuss the establishment of a commission. They want to submit the proposal on Friday.
Bartoš: STAN must explain the financing
According to the chairman of the coalition Pirates, Ivan Bartoš, STAN should explain its financing. “If any money is donated in violation of the law or from problematic sources, it is appropriate to return such money. And this applies to all political parties, “Bartoš said on Twitter.
After the evening meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, Bartoš emphasized again that “it is important that the financing of the parties is in order so that there is no doubt”, but he added that the coalition leaders, including the Austrian, talked about it. He appreciated that the STAN presidency would examine the donations, and considered it essential that the movement be prepared to return any problematic donations. Prime Minister Petr Fiala also defended his coalition partner. “Mr. Austrian and I have discussed this matter and we have agreed that all the things that appear in public, in the media, need to be clarified,” he said, adding that STAN was doing it.
Babiš clashed with Michálek
At the beginning of the extraordinary meeting, the chairman of the pirate deputies, Jakub Michálek, called it hypocritical that YES was demanding clarification of the donors of the STAN movement, while it is financed by Babiš, who is being prosecuted, and related companies that draw state subsidies. “We need to abandon this hypocrisy, when someone sees a splinter in their neighbor’s eye but does not see the beam in their eye,” Michálek said.
The Prime Minister and head of ANO Andrej Babiš then described the chairman of the pirate deputies, Jakub Michálek, as a psychopath. He also accused the pirate MP “of obsessing with Babiš”, as well as the chairman of STAN Austrian. Michálek then called on Babiš to refrain from derogatory expressions and insults in the future.
MF Dnes and Seznam Zprávy drew attention to financing
In mid-December, Mladá fronta DNES drew attention to sponsorship donations coming to the transparent STAN account in recent months. According to the paper, the amounts were 100 thousand to 200 thousand crowns. According to the daily, they were sent by companies that are controlled by the same people, or by companies that control companies from Cyprus or have set up Cypriot companies in the past.
The Seznam Seznam server wrote on Thursday that the co-owner of the companies that donated several million crowns to the STAN movement is being prosecuted in a tax case. According to the server, sponsoring companies such as WEEE, REMA Systém, DBK management or East Building are managerially and shareholder connected. In April 2019, the economic daily wrote that the police had accused REMA Systém and other legal entities, as well as their owners, of tax evasion caused by overpriced advertising. Subsequently, prosecutors canceled the prosecution of some of the accused, but some subjects continue to be prosecuted, they verified the List of Reports at a source from the police leadership.
The Report also states that a gift from REMA is also problematic, which according to some legal opinions was not allowed to provide any gift to a political party or movement, as it operates in the field of electrical waste recycling, where the new law prohibits it. The Ministry of the Environment will deal with her case, the server writes.
However, Dominika Pospíšilová, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Environment, pointed out that collective systems, such as those operated by REMA Systém, are, for a transitional period, governed not only by the new law but also by the previous Waste Act. It is “softer” in this respect and does not impose any strict restrictions on gifts.