Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Ex-Premier Affirms Poor Judgment in Czech Case ; after June Resignation, Necas Acknowledges Ex-Aide Was Girlfriend

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Ex-Premier Affirms Poor Judgment in Czech Case ; after June Resignation, Necas Acknowledges Ex-Aide Was Girlfriend

Article excerpt

Petr Necas, who resigned last month, characterized his chief of staff, who is charged with bribery and abuse of power, as his girlfriend.

Former Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic acknowledged in an interview published Monday that he had shown poor judgment and said he had planned to resign even before he became ensnared in a corruption scandal that brought down his government last month.

Mr. Necas, 48, was forced to resign after the police charged his chief of staff with bribery and abuse of office. In the interview, published in Tyden, a Czech weekly magazine, Mr. Necas characterized the chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, as his girlfriend. She is accused of ordering the secret services to spy on his estranged wife, whom Mr. Necas is divorcing. "Our relationship is very deep, and I am counting on it for the future," he told the magazine.

Ms. Nagyova has also been charged with bribing three members of Parliament, who opposed a government austerity plan, with offers of posts in state-owned companies in return for their agreement to leave Parliament. Eight officials with links to Mr. Necas were arrested in an elaborate anti-corruption sting operation that included wiretapping Ms. Nagyova's phone conversations. She has denied any wrongdoing and was released from jail Friday, pending trial.

Elaborating on his extramarital affair for the first time and taking responsibility for what happened, Mr. Necas said he had known that being romantically involved with his chief of staff while he was prime minister was ill advised. But, he suggested, he was a man deeply in love. "Interconnecting a personal relationship with a working relationship is simply not correct, and I knew that," he said. "I must bear personal political responsibility for this, too."

Mr. Necas said he and Ms. Nagyova had both planned to leave their posts by the end of the summer but were pre-empted when the scandal erupted. He said that prosecutors must have known from the wiretaps of his departure plans and that the sudden and dramatic arrests in June appeared to be motivated to assure maximum exposure and embarrassment for him and Ms. Nagyova. …

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