Czech Republic: Ultranationalist Úsvit loses lead EP candidate to fraud scandal
The attorney Klára Samková is no longer the lead candidate for the Úsvit (Dawn of Direct Democracy) movement in the EP elections in the Czech Republic. A source for the party has confirmed her removal.
Samková has had to step down because of suspicions that she allegedly defrauded Česká spořitelna bank and secretly aided a firm in reducing the value of a bad debt it owed the bank. Roman Škrabánek, the second candidate on Úsvit's list, is now its number one.
The attorney says the timing of the scandal two weeks prior to the EP elections means it is not possible for her to either clear her name or be convicted before people go to the polls. "During that amount of time a candidate can only be either condemned or stopped altogether. It is therefore completely obvious that this was precisely timed so the media pressure would remove me from the candidate list, discredit me, and harm Úsvit in the elections," Samková said.
She also believes "it is evident" that discrediting Úsvit is in the interest of "competing parties", specifically naming ANO and the Czech Social Democrats (ČSSD). "Both those entities have a reason to take all the steps they can that will lead to the fundamental weakening of Úsvit," Samková said.
The Radiožurnál radio station broadcast a report a few days ago about how the attorney allegedly deceived the bank and secretly aided a leading energy holding firm with reducing its debt. Radiožurnál reported that Samková allegedly pretended to be purchasing the debt for her own company and allegedly used money from the energy holding firm to do so in order to help them avoid having to pay it off.
She will now be replaced by 47-year-old Škrabánek as the lead candidate for Úsvit. Škrabánek has never been a member of a political party and calls himself a "euro-realist" who wants to reject rapid adoption of the EU's common currency by the Czech Republic.
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