International weekly takes note of lobbying scandal


The latest edition of The Economist has taken note of the "lobbying" scandal in Prague and its possible implications for the ruling Civic Democrats. In a short article this week, the daily gives a run-down of the main points of the affair, including how secret wiretaps recorded in 2007 revealed apparently highly-inappropriate conversations between ex-Prague Mayor Pavel Bém and powerful lobbyist Roman Janoušek. The scandal broke in Prague last week after bits from the tape were transcribed and published by the Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes. Discussed in the tapes were sales of city and state property as well as office appointments, suggesting the measure of influence Mr Janoušek had during Mr Bém’s mayoral term.

The Economist also notes the use of the expletives, bizarre coded language, and nicknames by the former mayor and lobbyist and points out that neither of the two had disputed the tapes’ authenticity. The weekly and others suggest that the scandal could strongly harm the Civic Democrats, of which Mr Bém is a member. The former mayor has suspended his membership until he clears his name. The case is currently under investigation.