Prague prosecutor calls on his deputy to resign over ‘godfather’ connection

Newly-appointed Prague chief prosecutor calls for his deputy Libor Grygárek to resign over links to ODS ‘godfather’ Roman Janoušek

Libor Grygárek foto: © ČTKČeská pozice

Libor Grygárek

The High State Prosecutor in Prague, Stanislav Mečl, called on Monday evening for his deputy Libor Grygárek to resign following reports linking him to controversial Prague lobbyist Roman Janoušek, widely known as a “godfather” and the “grey eminence” of the Civic Democrats (ODS) for his close connections and influence over the center-right party. Grygárek is refusing to go quietly.

Mečl, who replaced Vlastimil Rampula as High State Prosecutor in Prague on Nov. 7, said he had conducted a “check into possible personal links between deputy Libor Grygárek and Mr. Roman Janoušek,” in response to a report on Czech Television (Č?) about a leak of information from the investigation into alleged corruption behind the acquisition by the Czech Defense Ministry of 107 Pandur armored personnel carriers (APCs) for Kč 14.4 billion from the US-owned Austrian firm Steyr in 2009.

Č? reporters said they had obtained information about Grygárek’s phone communications from which it emerges that the deputy high prosecutor wrote reports to Janoušek. “I’m saying this because among other reasons the police are following this trail and this person 100 percent, that’s to say they are ascertaining whether he could be responsible for leaking the information,” Mečl told Czech Television.

In reaction, Grygárek told ČT that if someone has a list of his telephone calls, the list is evidence of a crime and that he intends to file a criminal complaint. Czech Position reported in July a possible connection between Janoušek and Grygárek after spotting the two talking together alone at a social event in Karlovy Vary during the annual film festival. 

Embarrassing leak

The daily Mladá fronta dnes (MfD) in May published excerpts of the testimony given by a manager of Steyr, Stephan Szücs, in the Padur investigation in which he said that at the end of 2007, Marek Dalík, a lobbyist and close friend of ex-prime minister Mirek Topolánek (ODS), asked for a commission of Kč 500 million for ensuring that the deal went through.

The leak caused severe embarrassment for the Czech state prosecution service and police who are collaborating with their Austrian counterparts in the Pandur corruption investigation. The Austrians were understandably alarmed by the breach of secrecy, and Szücs went into hiding for fear of threats to his life.The Austrians were alarmed by the breach of secrecy and Stephan Szücs went into hiding for fear of threats to his life.

It is still not known whether he will agree to testify in court should the case be brought to trial and the Austrians say there are further witnesses who are now unwilling to repeat their testimony.

Following the leak the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office (NSZ) and the High State Prosecutor in Prague, both denied the information could have come from the offices under their command. Rampula also said that two prosecutors from his office and one from the NSZ had had access to the Pandur investigation file.

The High State Prosecutor’s Office in Olomouc has been charged with investigating the leak of information from the Pandur investigation and a progress report due in early December. Olomouc prosecutor, Rostislav Bajger, told ČT that more information about the leak investigation should emerge at the end of December.