* President says charges against aide, others "very serious"
* Court holds some detainees in custody, to decide on others
* Charges part of wider graft investigation
* PM's coalition partners considering next steps
By Jan Korselt
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic, June 15 The coalition
partners of Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said they were
considering whether they could stay in government with him on
Saturday after a court ordered the detention of a close aide to
Necas over corruption charges.
A court in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava ruled that Jana
Nagyova, who has been in charge of Necas's office for years, be
remanded in custody. Prosecutors allege she bribed politicians
and illegally ordered intelligence agents to conduct
After the court ruling, an official with TOP09, the bigger
of two parties that are in coalition with Necas, said party
leaders would meet on Saturday evening to decide what to do
about staying in the coalition.
Karolina Peake, leader of the second junior partner in the
coalition, the small liberal party called LIDEM, told Reuters:
"The situation is becoming more serious from hour to hour."
Necas's Civic Democrat party alone does not have enough
seats in parliament to hold on to power, so if either of the
junior partners turn against the coalition, he would fall. That
would lead to either a new election or president Milos Zeman
could try to pick a new prime minister to form a new cabinet.
The government has been in turmoil since prosecutors charged
Nagyova and seven other people as part of the biggest sweep
against suspected political corruption in two decades.
Starting around midnight on Wednesday, around 400 officers,
some clad in balaclavas to conceal their identity, raided 31
premises, including bank safe deposit boxes, and seized at least
$6 million in cash and tens of kilograms of gold. Prosecutors
said more charges may follow, but declined to give details.
The court in Ostrava did not rule on the substance of the
charges, but by keeping Nagyova in jail it showed it believed
prosecutors at least had a credible case. That made it harder
for the governing coalition to dismiss the allegations as a
witch-hunt by rogue prosecutors.
Nagyova's role is crucial to the prime minister's political
survival because, even though there are no allegations he was
involved, the two are known to have worked very closely together
In a speech to lawmakers on Friday, the prime minister
dismissed the allegations and said he would stay on. He said he
had done nothing dishonest.
Speaking outside the court in Ostrava, Eduard Bruna, a
lawyer for Nagyova, said she rejected some of the accusations
against her and was arguing that she had acted in good faith on
Earlier on Saturday, Czech President Milos Zeman was asked
by reporters whether he thought the centre-right cabinet led by
Necas should stay in office.
"I consider the charges that have been brought to be very
serious," sad Necas, who is a political opponent of the prime
"After hearing from the chief of police and the supreme
state attorney, I am coming to the conclusion that they are
based on sufficient evidence," he said in his first remarks
since a series of police raids on government offices this week.
"This is an indirect but clear answer to your question," he
said at a ceremony north of the capital to commemorate Czech
victims of the Nazi occupation.