* Prosecutor says seven people charged after police raids
* PM's aide at centre of corruption web: prosecutors
* Country dogged by sleaze since 1989 collapse of Communism
* Czech leader says he did nothing wrong, will not resign
* Junior coalition partner says losing faith in PM
By Jana Mlcochova and Jan Korselt
PRAGUE, June 14 Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas
was clinging to office on Friday after prosecutors accused a
close aide of being at the centre of a corrupt web of political
favours and secret surveillance.
The leader of a junior partner in the governing coalition
told Reuters she had little confidence left in the prime
minister, but that her party had not yet decided whether to
withdraw its support.
Police raids on government offices on Thursday signalled the
most significant action against corruption in two decades in a
country that has been mired in sleaze since its "Velvet
Revolution" overthrew Communism in 1989.
In a defiant speech to lawmakers, the conservative prime
minister dismissed the allegations and said he would stay on.
His fate now depends on whether on whether the smaller
parties in his coalition stand by him.
The biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats, said it
would hold a no-confidence vote in parliament, possibly on
Tuesday. The opposition do not have enough votes to get this
through, but they will if some lawmakers from the governing
coalition turn against Necas.
"My confidence in him (Necas) is falling below freezing
point," Karolina Peake, head of the LIDEM party, smaller of the
two junior coalition partners, told Reuters late on Friday.
"However new information is still coming out and the issue
is quite complicated ... We have at least the weekend to make an
A day earlier hundreds of police with the organised crime
unit, some in balaclavas to conceal their identity, swept
through the government headquarters, the defence ministry, a
bank and private homes, detaining several Necas associates.
Police said they confiscated Czech currency worth at least
$6 million in the raids, as well as tens of kilograms of gold.
Necas was drawn even deeper into the affair on Friday when
prosecutors, giving details of their investigation for the first
time, alleged the existence of corrupt dealings that intersected
with Necas's personal and political life.
Tomas Sokol, a lawyer for one of the people charged, the
former head of military intelligence, said prosecutors had
accused his client of instructing agents to run surveillance on
Necas's wife, Radka.
Necas and his wife, his college sweetheart, announced this
week they were divorcing.
"Love, hate, secret agents, godfathers, tens of kilograms of
gold in bank safe deposits, untouchable policemen, corrupt
politicians. It would make for a nice Hollywood script if it
weren't a Czech reality show," Jeronym Tejc, an opposition
member of parliament, said on his Facebook profile.
END TO IMPUNITY?
Corruption was rife under communism but it has grown
exponentially in many eastern European countries since they made
the transition to a market economy. Graft is a part of everyday
life in much of the region, but convictions are rare.
The Czech investigation was unusual because of its scale,
and the ambition of taking on a political establishment which
previously seemed to be immune from prosecution.
Prosecutors have charged seven people, including the head of
Necas's office, two military intelligence service members, and
two former members of parliament, high state attorney Ivo Istvan
told a news conference.
They said their suspicions focused on two areas: allegations
that officials used the intelligence services for inappropriate
purposes, and that corrupt favours were given to politicians.
The prosecutors said the common factor in both sets of
allegations was Jana Nagyova, who heads Necas's office.
A government spokesman refused to comment on the charges
against Nagyova, who was born in 1965. Her lawyer Eduard Bruna,
declined to comment on the charges against her. Necas said on
Thursday he did not believe she did anything dishonest.
Nagyova has worked with Necas since 2006, and was often seen
at the prime minister's side on official engagements. Archive
footage broadcast on Czech television showed her standing next
to Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, at a reception.
On Friday, Czech news agency CTK circulated a grainy
photograph of Nagyova after her detention. She was wearing
sunglasses, her blonde hair hanging down to her shoulders.
Three police officers in balaclavas stood next to her. An
article of clothing was draped over her wrists, so it was
impossible to see if she was handcuffed.
In an appearance in parliament, 48-year-old Necas hit back
at the prosecutor's investigations.
He said that as far as the allegations of favours to
politicians were concerned, this was normal political activity
and not a criminal act. On the allegations of misusing
intelligence services, he said they may stem from
misunderstandings, or over-zealous actions by security
"This is my opinion that I have no reason to back off from,
and it is an opinion that leads me not to heed calls ... to
resign," Necas said.
His difficulties may, in part, be the result of a reform
Necas himself set in motion. Under his watch, the government
tried to break with past habits of sweeping corruption under the
carpet by appointing prosecutors with a free hand to go after
The mood on the streets of Prague was impatient. Czechs are
confronted daily with evidence of what they believe is pervasive
corruption, including well-connected businessmen living in plush
villas, and a steady stream of media reports about kickbacks and
padded government procurement deals.
"I think he should (resign)," said Nina Bechynova, 67, a
teacher at a university in Prague, when asked about the prime
minister. "But I'm worried that everyone is friends with
everyone and that they will brush it under the rug."