Final Word from Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A few years ago, some journalists began referring to the then-finance minister as Bohuslav "Čobka" Sobotka, because of his close ties to ČSOB bank. LN wrote in 2006 that Sobotka was almost always on ČSOB's side in IPB issues. It was around this time that legends formed about pilgrimages to Sobotka's cottage with bulging valises in hand. We gave him the nickname "Suitcase" Sobotka in the Final Word. There are now valid questions about Sobotka's finances. Could he have saved enough legitimate money to put down Kč 5m toward a Kč 7m condo? HN took a quick look at his accounts and declared that, yes, he could have. This is the same HN whose owner, Zdeněk Bakala, was the main lobbyist for ČSOB on the IPB deal, according to Bohumil Pečinka of Reflex. Readers are left with the question of whether Sobotka is truly clean, or whether his record is being conveniently sanitized.[Czech Republic Hospodářské noviny ČSSD Lidové noviny MF Dnes]

Glossary of difficult words

then-minister - a space-saving way to say "the minister at the time";

IPB - a major retail bank that was taken over by the central bank and sold quickly to ČSOB; 

pilgrimage - a religious journey or expedition; 

bulging - swelling or protruding in a way that distorts a flat surface; 

valise - a small suitcase (used here in order to avoid using the same word twice); 

to put (money) down - to pay upfront; to make an initial installment;

condo/condominium - an individual apartment in a building or complex of buildings; 

to sanitize - to alter something so as to make it more acceptable or palatable.


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