Czech Deputy Prime Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that the change of the CEO of ČEZ, a Czech state-owned energy giant, will have huge effects on the domestic politics. Under Martin Roman’s leadership, ČEZ was providing financial help to Czech political parties, the minister explained. Two weeks ago, Martin Roman quit as the company’s CEO in a sudden move that surprised many. The new chief director is Daniel Beneš . “The Roman case is tremendous and will have immense effects. It is a public secret in this country that Mr Roman and ČEZ were financing political parties, only TOP 09 did not receive anything from him,” Schwarzenberg said. It needs to be added that in addition to being Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, Schwarzenberg is also the head of the same TOP 09, a conservative member of the center-right coalition. Mr Schwarzenberg’s statements are very serious: ČEZ is not mentioned in any official reports on funding of Czech political parties. The deputy PM voiced this allegation in an interview with Aktualne.cz, a Czech on-line daily, which have been investigating recently for backstage information about the real reason why Martin Roman quit as the ČEZ CEO. “I can only say that we (TOP 09) have never been financed by ČEZ,” Scharzenberg said in the interview. Even though Mr Schwarzenberg does not provide any proof, his allegations are very serious. Czech political parties are obliged by law to reveal details about their funding. And the state-owned ČEZ has not been mentioned as sponsor by any party. If the minister is telling the truth, ČEZ must have financed the parties via clandestine financial flows, not recorded by official accounting. This would mean, among other things, huge tax evasions. Representatives of ČEZ categorically deny that their company has taken part in political sponsorship in the last 15 years. “ČEZ has never sponsored any political party,” said Ladislav Kříž, the company’s spokesman. Politicians of all political parties Aktualne.cz has approached say the same – ČEZ has never been their sponsor. The ruling ODS and Public Affairs as well as the opposition Social Democrats and Communists assure in unison that they have never received anything from ČEZ.
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