Czech Republic: Antigypsyist con artist tries running for office again
The infamous con artist Václav Prokůpek disappeared from public life for a while, but is now back in all his glory, having just enjoyed a brief stint as the lead candidate in the upcoming regional elections for the Association of the Unaffiliated (Sdružení nestraníků - SN) in the Plzeň Region. This is not Prokůpek's first bid for office. He began as the boss of the neo-Nazi Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS) in the Plzeň Region and became the lead candidate for its successor party, the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) in the 2010 elections to the lower house in the Olomouc Region.
The con artist and the extremists
The candidate list of the SN in the Plzeň Region also includes other people who have run as candidates for right-wing extremist parties in the past, such as Martin Michl, a football coach from Spálené Poříčí who was a DSSS member and ran for office on the DSSS ticket in the Plzeň Region; Gabriela Tolarová, who ran for the DSSS in the Zlín Region; Karel Hák, who also ran for the party in that region; and Norbert Naxera, who ran for the National Party in the Plzeň region in 2006. In addition to his membership in the neo-Nazi DS and having run on the ticket of its successor party, Václav Prokůpek is also an infamous con artist.
Prokůpek has lied about having graduated from several colleges and being awarded various academic titles. He completely invented the content of an anti-Romani newspaper article which was reprinted by almost all of the statewide media. He established a movement to support mafia member Vratislav Kutal, who was charged and convicted of murder in the "light heating oil" scandal. He has plagiarized other authors instead of writing his own works and has posed as an attorney in order to get money out of people under various pretexts, fradulently telling his clients he was the ex-husband of former Czech MP Lucie Talmanová. He has been on trial twice, once for beating up a pensioner and once for physically assaulting an MP.
What about Jan Kryčer, the chair of the SN? In recent days he has thanked three separate people for bringing Prokůpek's past to his attention. He wrote the following to the first person to raise the issue:
"We thank you for your report. We are vetting our candidates within the realm of possibility. Every candidate is providing us with a lustration certificate and proof of a clean criminal record. Both were in order for Mr Prokůpek. We will investigate your information and should it prove valid, we will remove Mr Prokůpek as a candidate."
Another person who contacted him about Prokůpek received the following response:
"Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. We had not the slightest suspicion of Mr Prokůpek's dark past. We are very grateful to you and will remove him from the candidate list. He made a good impression on us. His lustration certificate was negative, his criminal record was clean, and he signed a solemn declaration that he had never been a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and is not a member of any party. Along with his CV, that was enough for us."
A third person who contacted him about Prokůpek then received the following claim:
"We thank you for your information. We did not suspect these facts and we greatly regret them. Unfortunately, your information has come too late and there is nothing we can do but distance ourselves from these people. We have nothing to do with the DSSS and we feel just as deceived as you do."
Yesterday Kryčer distanced the SN from Prokůpek and called on citizens not to vote for him. Below is a translation of his "Declaration on the Regional Elections in the Plzeň Region":
"The leadership of the Association of the Unaffiliated movement has learned of the political activities of Mr Václav Prokůpek in the Plzeň Region prior to the upcoming elections and makes the following declaration:
Mr Václav Prokůpek is not a member of the Association of the Unaffiliated and never has been.
Mr Václav Prokůpek concealed his political past from the leadership of the Association of the Unaffiliated movement and gave a deceptive account of his social position.
The leadership of the Association of the Unaffiliated movement distances itself from all of the political activities of Mr Václav Prokůpek and declares that it disagrees with them.
The leadership of the Association of the Unaffiliated movement calls on voters in the Plzeň Region not to vote for Mr Václav Prokůpek in the upcoming elections to the Plzeň Regional Authority.
Kryčer has not yet issued any written statements regarding the other candidates on the SN list who have previously run for office for right-wing extremist parties even though he has been informed of their affiliations.
When we contacted the SN's lead candidates in the Central Bohemian and South Moravian Regions, they were unhappily surprised to learn of Prokůpek's past. The SN's lead candidate in South Moravia, František Lukl, immediately distanced himself from neo-Nazism after being informed of the matter but was not otherwise willing to address the situation. The lead candidate for the SN in Central Bohemia, Petr Hůla, on the other hand, was willing to push for removing Prokůpek from the list. He wrote to us that he was horrified by the SN candidate list in Plzeň and said he would try to get Kryčer to distance the SN from Prokůpek. Soon afterward the above declaration was published on the SN's website and the entire SN candidate list for Plzeň was removed from the web.
Recidivist con artist
Prokůpek has committed many frauds, but he achieved his greatest notoriety by completely fabricating an article about the establishment of the "European Romani Party" in Ústí nad Labem, which he claimed had been robbed by its own treasurer. The article (and others by Prokůpek on Romani-related topics, many of which were most probably also fabricated) was published by the anti-Romani tabloid news server Parlamentní listy.cz. Investigative reporting by news server Romea.cz revealed the deception and Parlamentní listy had to apologize to its readers and distance itself from Prokůpek.
Prokůpek has also been reported on by other media outlets. For example, in the periodical Romano hangos (issue 22-2009), Editor-in-Chief Pavel Pečínka wrote the following: "Several years ago, [Prokůpek] established a movement to support Vratislav Kutal when he was charged with murder in the light heating oil scandal. Prokůpek presents himself as a member of various institutions and enjoys threatening people with both litigation and physical violence… Prokůpek was once a member of the leadership of the Law and Justice (Právo a spravedlnost) coalition, is still engaged int he Workers' Party, and contributes articles to the Workers' News (Dělnický listy)."
There are just two things to remember here: First, Vratislav Kutal was one of the mafia members convicted in that scandal, but a judge released him under strange circumstances after he had served only half of his sentence. For more details, see the 2008 interview with investigative reporter Jana Lorencová (in Czech only at http://zpravy.idnes.cz/slusny-clovek-byl-a-je-za-hlupaka-rika-investigativni-novinarka-jana-lorencova-19o-/kavarna.aspx?c=A080523_153646_kavarna_bos).
Second, the Workers' Party was the predecessor to today's DSSS. The Supreme Administrative Court dissolved the Workers' Party as a neo-Nazi party with a tendency toward Hitler's national socialism and a racist and xenophobic bias. The court also emphasized the strong links in terms of personnel between the party and various neo-Nazi activities and initiatives.
Czech Television: The right hand doesn't know what the left is doing
Prokůpek's plagiarism has been blogged about (in Czech only, see http://blog.lupa.cz/internet/ing-vaclav-prokupek-ph-d-aneb-kdyz-vysokoskolsky-pedagog-krade/). Czech Television has also reported that Prokůpek falsely claimed to have academic titles he never earned and to have lied about graduating from several colleges (in Czech only, see. http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ivysilani/1142743803-reporteri-ct/212452801240018/obsah/201899-patrani-po-mystifikatorovi-vaclavu-prokupkovi/). On the basis of these claims he even taught at a college for some time.
The tabloid Blesk wrote the following about Prokůpek: "Small-time con artist Václav Prokůpek posed as an attorney and got money out of people under various pretexts. He was even insolent enough to tell his clients he was the ex-husband of the Lucie Talmanová, who is living with Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek." (In Czech only, see http://www.blesk.cz/clanek/zpravy-politika/100468/muz-tvrdi-talmanova-byla-ma-manzelka.html).
In addition to running as a candidate for the right-wing extremist DSSS, Václav Prokůpek has been tried twice on assault charges. He was convicted and given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year and a half, for violently assaulting Czech MP Vladislav Vilímec (Civic Democrats - ODS). He was also tried for beating up a pensioner. State prosecutors charged him with beating and kicking an elderly man in April 2010 in the town of Mirošov (Rokycany district).
What is strange is that editors at Czech Television are not paying attention to their own previous reporting on the con artist. On 7 May 2012, Czech Television's "Reporters" program broadcast information about Prokůpek's con artist career and caught him in his lies. On 15 September 2012, Czech Television then broadcast a segment of its "Political Spectrum - Elections 2012" program in which it presented Prokůpek as a credible candidate for the Association of the Unaffiliated. That broadcast also included another right-wing extremist luminary, Jiří Štěpánek of the DSSS. (In Czech only, see http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ivysilani/10379554637-politicke-spektrum-krajske-volby-2012/212411033150006/).
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