Top politicians and energy lobbyists photographed on yacht in Italy

31-07-2009

Newspaper photographs of top Czech politicians sharing a yacht in Italy with energy lobbyists are causing a stir in the Czech Republic. Among those featured on the photographs are former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, CEO of the energy company ČEZ Martin Roman, and Social Democratic MP Milan Urban. Czech media outlets, aside from speculating on who is most likely to benefit from the rather expensive detective work, have also made frequent reference to the recent passage of a carbon emissions deal in parliament that resulted in a multi-billion-crown windfall for the energy giant, ČEZ. A number of those featured on the photographs have said the meeting was a chance encounter in a popular holiday area. Compounding the discussion around the photographs is the fact that they were released by Karel Randák, the erstwhile chief of the Czech civilian intelligence agency. Mr Randák has declined to shed more light on the procurement of the photos, saying only that no intelligence agents were involved, and that his decision to release them was taken in order to “show how things work in this country.” Mr Randák was dismissed from his position in 2006 by Mr Topolánek’s government.