October 30, 2007

Black sheep of Czech national politics

Scandals seem to stick well on Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek, a black sheep of Czech national politics. Three months have not yet passed since prosecutors dropped a case in which the vice-premier was accused of allegedly taking a bribe, and now he is facing a scandal over his finances yet again. Public broadcaster Czech Television reported in its investigation programme on Monday night that Cunek deposited 3.5 million koruny (187,567 dollars) in three banks in 1998 when his family of six was also receiving various welfare benefits such as child and housing support. Now touring his Senate district in southern Moravia, Cunek has refused further comment, since "the report is a subject of a criminal complaint" lodged with the police, said Martin Horalek, the spokesman for Cunek's Christian Democrats. He declined to go into details.

The Czech Television reporter, citing documents, said that he stands by the story. The latest scandal is once again rocking Cunek's cabinet career. The chairman of the Social Democratic caucus in the Senate demanded Tuesday that he resign from the government.

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