Rakusan Expresses Support For Mlejnek and Refuses To Resign
Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) repeated to journalists today that the new head of the Office for Foreign Relations and Information (UZSI) civilian intelligence service, Petr Mlejnek, enjoys his trust and that he would not resign.
Rakusan said the procedures when selecting Mlejnek were regular, and he had not received any warnings from the security service.
Mlejnek is facing criticism over his contacts with lobbyist Michal Redl, who is being prosecuted over suspected corruption around the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP).
Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) also said that Rakusan had a firm position in the government and he could not see any reason to distrust him.
The opposition ANO party has demanded that Fiala dismiss Rakusan, otherwise it will trigger a no-confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies.
“It is certainly in my interest that there should not be any doubts about the activities of the intelligence services, and that they enjoy our trust. We must ensure such a situation in the case of the UZSI, too,” said Fiala today, ahead of a meeting with Rakusan to discuss the matter.
Fiala suggested that talk of a no-confidence vote could be a way to divert attention from the scandals involving ANO leader Andrej Babis.
Such a vote would have little chance of success, as the government coalition parties control 108 votes in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies. Nonetheless, ANO would probably try to exploit the issue’s “theatrical potential, including a long and emotional debate closely watched by all media,” said Josef Mlejnek of Charles University (no relation to Petr Mlejnek).
Rakusan reiterated that Mlejnek had been successfully checked by the National Security Office (NBU), and that the cabinet had followed regular procedures when appointing him. The security community had not warned of any problem in connection with Mlejnek, Rakusan said.
“Mlejnek has my trust. If not, I would not have named him,” he added.
Rakusan said the tasks entrusted to Mlejnek by the government or him had so far been fulfilled very well.
Next week, Mlejnek is to attend a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies security committee and the commission for control of the UZSI.
“I will certainly not step down,” Rakusan said, adding that he could not see any reason for this.
Last week, Seznam Zpravy wrote that Mlejnek had regular contacts with Michal Redl since at least 2012. The server reported on Thursday that GIBS had started checking whether it was Mlejnek who had passed sensitive police information to the group around Redl.
On Friday, the GIBS dismissed the allegations.
Rakusan previously said he had known about Mlejnek’s contacts with Redl already before appointing him as the head of UZSI on 8 July, but he was not concerned because it was a working relationship, adding that the only reason for Mlejnek’s dismissal would be if he were not granted top secret level security clearance.
Mlejnek told Seznam Zpravy that he had known Redl since 2012 and that they had been meeting once a year. At the time in question, he worked in the firm Techniserv, which supplied and installed technological systems and often took part in public procurement. He stated that as part of his role he was interested in contracts for his company, but did not win any contract with Redl’s help.