5. září 2016 | News

Jan Kraus: Proč?

Monday Comment

Mr. Kovarčík died shortly before criminal proceedings could start against him over the crime of legalizing proceeds from criminal action.

Source: http://www.lidovky.cz/uplatek-za-amnestii-klausovi-blizci-mlci-jakl-situaci-zlehcuje-pv3-/zpravy-domov.aspx?c=A150326_121508_ln_domov_jzl            

Czech police obtained information about a suspect bank account (in unknown name), on which landed 25 million EUR, from their Swiss colleagues, who had requested assistance in investigating into a suspected money-laundering ploy.

The case came to light thanks to the activity of the Anticorruption Endowment (NFPK), specifically its director’s letter to Swiss prosecutors, in which he requested a probe into a financial transaction, since according to unverified information the money transfer could be directly associated with the presidential amnesty, granted by Václav Klaus.

A journalist can obtain information about a similar suspect case if he has good sources (i.e. those that trust him). He might obtain such information either from a “foe” or a “rival” of the suspect or—which seldom happens in the Czech Republic—by virtue of the moral qualities of a person who has registered or obtained knowledge about such action. Likewise, though, it can be obtained by a police force, if approached, either in good will or for whatever reasons, by somebody who knows or gleans background data about such transaction. If such information reaches an honest journalist, he will disclose it after due consideration and police will start investigating the case. Many such episodes have occurred even in the Czech Republic.

This time, however, neither the journalist nor the police have obtained such information. They might of course be exposed to various pressures not to disclose information.

If somebody sends off 20 million euros, it is legitimate to assume that he is capable of influencing anyone else with his money and probably is well connected with people with interesting or influential liaisons. Money is the first and foremost component of the vicious circle of profiteering and corruption, as shown to all and sundry e.g. by the Mostecká uhelná story (also ultimately opened by the Swiss) and many other scandals.

One of the chief missions of the Anticorruption Endowment is to stand out as a credible institution that could safely be approached in such cases, since it will indeed take action, within its given confines, while respecting the anonymity of the source.

Unlike in the case of personally motivated complaints, often largely consisting of the announcement about its being filed (common practice among politicians and businesspeople) in order to keep the general public impressed, the NFPK did not disclose it had sent a letter to the Swiss prosecutors. There was no reason for that. The information could have been planted only to subsequently discern that no such transaction ever happened, and it did, is purpose was manifestly different, unsuspicious, that no such account exists, etc.

Suspicions are plentiful; many of them often ensue from ignorance and do not offer traceable evidence. However, having double-checked the transaction, police in Switzerland in this case confirmed that the suspicion was grave and supported by facts.

Customarily, one has to assume that questions will crop up once the cat is out of the bag:

Why it was you who learned about the case? (One wonders why it was not, say, the press or the police. I think I know why…).

Why did you learn it precisely at this time? (The one who learns something is disqualified from the determination of timeframes…).

Why did the papers come out with it now? (Many would-be conspiracy theorists view time as a suspicious circumstance…).

Why won’t you disclose the source of your information? (Surely the NFPK defaulted on the purpose for which it was set up…).

Is it true that that the case was masterminded by Babiš? (Not all that happens in this country is controlled by Babiš, not yet…).

Is it true that the case was organized by somebody in order to distract attention from somebody or something else? (It is not clear at the moment who was involved, but evidence will be furnished at a later date…).

Then crops up a series of additional “sensationalist” questions, logically not too remote from the tenet that It was the Americans who wrecked New York’s Twins on 9/11, because… in order to… you name it).

The camp of those on which a shadow of suspicion falls—not least concerning their possible motivation—usually produces the bulk of denigrating information about the Anticorruption Endowment.

In short, it would seem that the Swiss judiciary and police are the main villains of the peace, once again as before. Geographically speaking, Switzerland is only one hour’s flight from the Czech Republic. But in some respects, it is still a country far away.

Jan Kraus - NFPK co-founder and vice chairman of the Board of Trustees