State prosecutor drops charges against two men in the 'Koristka affair'

18-10-2004

State prosecutor Josef Blaha has dropped all charges against two men taken into custody earlier this month for having allegedly attempted to bribe MP Zdenek Koristka of the Freedom Union, a junior government coalition party, to help bring down the government in a vote of confidence. The charges against the two — Jan Vecerek, a lobbyist, and Marek Dalik, an adviser to the leader of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party — were dropped due to a lack of evidence. On Friday, the state prosecutor assigned to the politically charged case, Martin Fras, was relieved of his related responsibilities, for refusing to drop the charges as directed by a superior. The Civic Democrat leader, Mirek Topolanek, who now refuses to discuss the case publicly, had said that he merely sent Mr Dalik to find out how Mr Koristka was intending to vote and that Mr Vecerek facilitated the meeting.

Although the charges against the two men have been dropped, the police investigation into what the media is calling the 'Koristka affair' will continue. The Freedom Union MP, who agreed to a polygraph, or 'lie detector' test, claimed he was offered the equivalent of 300,000 euros and the post of Czech ambassador to Bulgaria to vote against the government coalition of which his party is a member.