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Czech leader who fought graft is felled by corruption scandal

Petr Necas, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. He held office from 2010 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia) Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic announced Monday he’ll resign after being engulfed in a corruption and abuse-of-power scandal.

Necas has been under pressure to quit after police conducted raids across the country this weekend. They made eight arrests, including his closest aide, Jana Nagyova. She allegedly offered high-paying jobs in state-owned companies to three former lawmakers from Necas’ party in return for political favors.

Seven others, including the current and former heads of military intelligence and the three former lawmakers were charged with bribery or misuse of power.

Necas was the first prime minister of the Czech Republic to take strong steps to fight corruption. He had given the police more power to investigate graft cases.

Czechs have grown impatient with rampant corruption. But with Necas’ resignation, many doubt the anti-graft campaign will continue.

The ruling coalition will try to form a new government led by someone nominated by the former prime minister’s Civic Democratic Party.

Necas’ aide, Jana Nagyova, was also charged with ordering a military intelligence agency to spy on Necas’ estranged wife.

During the weekend raids, police seized more than $6 million in cash and large amounts of gold.

Necas has rejected the allegations against his aide Nagyova and the others. He said his resignation was based on his ‘political responsibility.’

The current three-party coalition government has ruled since parliamentary elections in 2010.

— With additional reporting from voanews.com

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