Final Word from Monday, September 21, 2015

When Mirek Topolánek spoke at the Hilton on March 8, 2010, about "racketeering" in Prague on the level of city hall, the police, the prosecutors and the courts, he was in the middle of a battle with the mini-godfathers who ran him out of office as ODS chair one month later. He complained at the time that the size of the bribes had risen to an untenable 15-20%, from the doable level of 5-7%. If we look at Blanka tunnel through this prism, it must be declared an unmitigated success - for the very crooks Topolánek had in mind. The kickbacks must have reached Kč 5-7bn, and only one minor player was ever charged, thanks no doubt to the tireless work of Prague Prosecutor Dagmar Máchová. True, Metrostav's image suffered dearly, but on the bright side, hardly anyone noticed the key role of IDS. And then there is the lasting problem of Pavel Bém's tattered reputation. But, hey, taking all the hits is what he was being paid so well to do. [Czech Republic construction State]

Glossary of difficult words

racketeering - dishonest and fraudulent business dealings;

untenable - not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection;

through the prism of - used figuratively in reference to the clarification or distortion afforded by a particular viewpoint;

unmitigated - absolute; unqualified;

kickback - a payment made to someone who facilitated a transaction or appointment, esp. illicitly;

to take the hits - to be the target of criticism.

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