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Czech Finance Minister In Online Gambling Scandal

Authorities in the Czech Republic have begun a criminal investigation into Finance Minister Miroslev Kalousek and online gaming licenses that were awarded by his department in 2008.

The investigation is looking into the possibility that abuse of power and fraud may have been committed in the awarding of the licenses. A report by Czech Situation states that the anti-corruption unit of the Czech police are looking to a claim that Marek Dospiva, a co-founder of Penta Investment Group donated Kč 11 million ($613,000) to the Finance Minister's political party through a third party. The alleged goal of the donation was to secure a Czech online gaming license for Fortuna, a sister company to Penta.

Speaking to Právo, a Czech publication about the investigation, Kalousek said: “It’s simply an absurd fabrication, the only aim of which could be to give me a bad name in the media, if possible, before the TOP 09 annual party conference. There’s not a grain of truth in it. A range of companies received permission, and I can completely rule out that there was any sort of corrupt motive behind the decision or that I received any kind of backhand payment for it."

He also added: "some sort of police provocation is probably behind the investigation."

The current criminal investigation was launched after MP Tomáš Jarolím issued a criminal complaint about the matter earlier this year.

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