Case of Czech Mail
What’s this case all about?
In the second half of 2010 Lukáš Čadek’s firm delivered a demanding contract to Česká pošta (Czech Mail). Under a contract, Lukáš Čadek bought supplies but Česká pošta subsequently backed away from the contract. He had to borrow money for the purchase of goods, but the deal with Česká pošta left him penniless, with millions of crowns to pay. After unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement with several Česká pošta officials and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec he decided to sue Česká pošta for more than 24 million crowns and to go public with his case.
On 23 June 2015, Lukáš Čadek met with a ČSSD member, Kamil Choc, who proposed that litigation with Česká pošta be settled by providing a bribe amounting to three million crowns. Kamil Choc proposed that one million crowns be paid to Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, and two million crowns to the Social Democratic Party (ČSSD). However, Milan Chovanec subsequently denied any liaison with Kamil Choc and the said bribe, and it should be noted that there is no evidence about Milan Chovanec’s involvement in this corruption offer. But it is known that the bribe should have been paid in cash. Kamil Choc maintained he was only a middleman and said that the money should have been paid after a successful solution of the business case, and not in advance. The conversation between Choc and Čadek was recorded.
The recordings and other evidence were delivered to the Anticorruption Endowment (NFPK), which duly sued on 13 August 2015. Regrettably, the NFPK received these documents too late (two months after the bribe was offered), after several political figures and journalists got in possession of the recordings and pertinent information.
The weekly Respekt reported on 24 August 2015 that Lukáš Čadek had reportedly discussed a solution to the case with the owner of the firm, Global Security System (GSS), Ľudovít Emanuel and Zdeněk Blahut, a former owner of GSS and now the second in charge of the ÚZSI inteligence service. They reportedly discussed a takeover of the GSS claim so the dispute is resolved thanks to the alleged contacts of Zdeněk Blahut. Lukáš Čadek would then purportedly have retrieved the debt from Česká pošta, while Zdeněk Blahut would have received four million crowns. However, Zdeněk Blahut categorically denies any such meeting ever took place.
Surprisingly, Milan Chovanec vehemently started to pursue the affair, describing it as an attempt to “destabilize Česká pošta by means of intelligence and security instruments”. The affair led to the convocation of the State Security Council on 20 August 2015, which was presented with material evidence associated with the case. Some sources indicate that secret services and private concerns also played a role.
- Member of Central Bohemian ČSSD, a middleman asking for a bribe in exchange for settling litigation between Lukáš Čadek and Česká pošta
- Businessman asked to pay a bribe in exchange for settling litigation with Česká pošta
- Very senior manager at Česká pošta, protected by Kamil Choc, who used her as a liaison with Interior Minister Milan Chovanec. She received several highly suspect emails from Kamil Choc, which were handed over to police with a 10-day delay
- Central Bohemian Governor, member of the ČSSD, handpicked by Kamil Choc to cover the corruption offer. However, Miloš Petera denies any role in the affair.
- Minister of the Interior, his name was cited in the corruption offer made by Kamil Choc.
Our action over the case
In August 2015 the NFPK lodged a criminal complaint and provided basic legal assistance to Lukáš Čadek.
How much public money is at stake?
The size of the affair has not yet been finalized and it is difficult to say what impact it has on public funds.
Challenges past and present
The NFPK has not faced any retaliatory steps to date.
- Three million crown bribe: NFPK sues (NFPK, 13.8.2015)