* Opposition leader demands PM's immediate resignation
* PM says has done nothing dishonest, won't step down
* Organised crime unit raids government, city offices
* Head of PM's office is among detained
By Jan Lopatka and Robert Muller
PRAGUE, June 13 The Czech Republic's main
opposition party demanded on Thursday that Prime Minister Petr
Necas step down after police raided government offices, seized
documents and detained a woman who for years has been one of his
Necas said he would not consider resigning after the raids,
but the investigation is a severe blow to his government, which
does not have a stable majority in parliament and has already
come close to collapsing several times.
Hundreds of officers from the organised crime unit, some
armed and wearing balaclavas, conducted sweeps of the government
headquarters and the Defence Ministry. They also searched safe
deposit boxes in a bank, seized documents at the capital's city
hall, and raided private homes.
One anti-graft campaigner said it was the biggest operation
in the past 20 years to tackle corruption in the Czech Republic,
a European Union member of 10.5 million people.
Among those detained was Jana Nagyova, the head of the prime
minister's office who has been, in effect, his long-standing
Police refused to give details of their investigation or
disclose the names of the people they had detained. Necas
himself, in a statement to the media, revealed that Nagyova was
among people from his office who had been detained.
The police operation triggered a political crisis, with
parliament interrupting its session, the crown currency dropping
slightly, and the president scheduling a meeting with Necas and
the head of the national police for Friday.
Bohuslav Sobotka, head of the centre-left opposition Social
Democrats said the country should hold an early election and his
party would start consultations with political partners and the
president to secure that aim. The opposition party needs allies,
as it alone does not have enough votes to dismiss the cabinet.
"The Social Democrats demand an immediate resignation of the
prime minister," Sobotka told reporters.
The Czech Republic became a beacon of liberty in 1989 when
former dissident Vaclav Havel led the "Velvet Revolution"
against communist rule. But since then, successive governments
have been dogged by accusations and rumours of corruption -
though none has ever led to a high-profile conviction.
In a statement to the media, Necas said: "I am personally
convinced that I did not do anything dishonest and that my
colleagues have not done anything dishonest either. Therefore I
do not have any reason to consider a resignation and, thus, the
fall of the government."
Referring to his aide's detention, Necas said: "I can only
comment that my confidence in her has not declined and I have no
reason to believe that she committed anything illegal."
Interior Minister Jan Kubice said that Necas himself had
been visited late on Wednesday by the head of the organised
crime unit and two state attorneys. But he gave no further
details and it was unclear what the visit was about.
Petr Honzejk, a commentator at the daily Hospodarske Noviny
newspaper, said the raids were the most serious blow yet to the
centre-right government led by Necas.
"I think Petr Necas cannot survive this," he said. "Everyone
knows how close she (Nagyova) is to him."
A senior government official told Reuters that Nagyova was
personally close to Necas for years, and acted as a gatekeeper
for people who wanted to see the prime minister.
The government switchboard directed calls for Nagyova to the
press department, which refused to comment.
It was Necas who tried to break with the pattern of
corruption being swept under the carpet by appointing
prosecutors with a free hand to pursue sleaze cases.
"This is clearly the biggest police operation concerning
corruption ... in the past 20 years," said Radim Bures of
anti-graft group Transparency International.
"For the past year and a half police and the state
attorney's office have shown they are not scared."
Necas said that people from his office were detained
apparently in relation to a case last year when three former
deputies from his party quit parliament after abandoning a
rebellion that could have toppled the government. Two of them
were later given top positions at state firms.
Czech media said police also searched the premises of
There was no indication from police or prosecutors of what
corrupt activities they suspect in the case, but Czech media and
politicians have long talked about the country being plagued by
These have included overpriced IT, legal, services and
equipment procurement contracts at various levels of state
administration, often won by companies with anonymous owners in
off-shore tax havens.