Final Word from Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A little-known MP from ČSSD, Jan Birke, was one of the first to object to the nomination of Dan Ťok of Skanska as transport minister. Birke said that Ťok has a clear conflict of interest and that this will be a burden on the cabinet. It's a fair statement, but it also makes Birke fair game for scrutiny himself. What are his own potential conflicts of interest? Birke is ČSSD's spokesman for transport, and he's also being promoted to be chairman of the parliamentary commission for investigating the buckling on the D47 highway. In 2003-2004, Birke was on the management board of Sokolovská uhelná, although this has somehow disappeared from the commercial registry. The coal company was privatized then to the management, as proposed by the finance minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. The buyers were advised by none other than lawyer Radek Pokorný, who now happens to be representing Eurovia CS in the D47 dispute. Just as it's fair to ask whether Ťok will show favoritism toward Skanska, it's fair to ask whether Birke will help Pokorný with Eurovia's D47 problem. [Czech Republic představenstvo Wagner privatization]

Glossary of difficult words

fair game - a person or thing that is a reasonable target for criticism, exploitation or attack;

to buckle - to bend and give way under pressure or strain; to warp;

favoritism - the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.

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