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Czech Police arrest convener of anti-Roma demonstrations for alleged credit fraud

Varnsdorf, 22.9.2011 17:08, (ROMEA)
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Police officers have arrested Lukáš Kohout, the organizer of recent anti-Roma demonstrations in Varnsdorf, on suspicion of credit fraud and have filed a motion for him to be remanded into custody. Detectives allege Kohout used someone else's name without permission to purchase a laptop computer and then never paid off the loan. "He never paid back the loan, costing the company damages of more than CZK 35 000," police spokesperson Vojtěch Haňka said.

Police officers arrested Kohout yesterday morning and detained him in a cell, where he can be kept for up to 48 hours at the most. Detectives in Rumburk then filed a motion for him to be remanded into custody. Haňka says detectives are justifiably concerned that Kohout will commit more such crimes if released.

Lukáš Kohout has organized several anti-Roma demonstrations in Varnsdorf. On Saturday, 10 September, police detained him at one of these events. Police spokesperson Jarmila Hrubešová said he was detained for failing to make an appearance and give a statement regarding the allegations of fraud. Kohout faces up to three years in prison for fraud and violating personality rights.

In 2002, Kohout was convicted of defrauding the state. Posing as an assistant to the then-head of the UN General Assembly, Jan Kavan, he invoiced the state for the purchase of air travel to exotic destinations. Thanks to his confident behavior, he also had no problem gaining access to negotiations on the coalition government at the Socialist Party headquarters or even to the Czech Parliament, where he introduced himself as Jan Kavan's secretary and spokesperson. When politicians asked who he was, he usually claimed to be a journalist.

Kohout posed as Kavan's assistant in order to scam air travel. By dissembling and lying, he eventually succeeded in getting the Parliament to pay for his travel to the Maldives, South Africa and Thailand, even inviting his friends along. His fraud was not discovered until an unsuccessful flight on a charter jet to Sri Lanka, which he also ordered on the tab of Parliament without approval.

Kohout knows several local Romani people in Varnsdorf personally and is said to have attended "special school" with them. His wife is rumored to have recently left him for a Romani man.

Kohout's current girlfriend has called for Hitler's return at the anti-Romani demonstrations in Varnso and for Romani people to be sent to the gas chambers. She expressed her demands both on a t-shirt she wore to the demonstrations and in an interview she gave to the Prima television channel during one of them.

Kohout's other excesses include: Driving a vehicle with a blue light and claiming to police officers that he was transporting a minister; acquiring a parking card belonging to former Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and using it to access the parking lot; posing as a spokesperson for the CzechTek techno-party; claiming in 2006 that he was founding a new political party on a platform of legalizing marijuana; and posing as an MP from the Civic Democrats and telling the media that the party would not support a three-coalition government after the 2006 elections.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk,,, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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