Former Czech industry minister facing police probe for defrauding creditors

Former Czech industry and trade minister subject to police probe on suspicion of defrauding creditors

Chris Johnstone 23.3.2012
Ministr průmyslu a obchodu Martin Kocourek má velký problém. | na serveru | aktuální zprávy Ministr průmyslu a obchodu Martin Kocourek má velký problém. | foto: © ČTK, ČESKÁ POZICEČeská pozice
Ministr průmyslu a obchodu Martin Kocourek má velký problém.

Martin Kocourek (Civic Democrat, ODS), who stepped down as Czech minister for industry and trade after admitting to concealing a small fortune from his former wife, is being investigated by anti-corruption police on suspicion of defrauding creditors, according to the weekly Týden’s news server.

The server said that information about the investigation was released by the spokeswoman for Prague’s western district, adding that no further details were available and that the former minister had refused to comment. If found guilty of defrauding creditors, Kocourek could face a prison sentence of up to eight years, the server pointed out.

The investigation centers on the Kč 16 million in bonds which Kocourek famously “diverted” and failed to declare to his ex-wife. The bonds passed through the opaque brokerage Key Investments on the way to the ex-minister’s mother.

Kocourek tried to sit out the scandal that emerged after revelations first surfaced of his mother’s sudden and unexplained wealth, but after a cringingly unconvincing news conference, in which he attributed the millions to past family wealth, he opted to resign in November last year. It appeared later that he had not revealed another Kč 8 million from an earlier deal.

Kocourek’s former wife has since said she will take legal action to receive her share of Koucorek’s wealth that was kept hidden from her and was not covered by their divorce settlement.