Reflex: Okamura's private money too interlinked with his Dawn

Tomio Okamura, the leader of the Dawn of Direct Democracy movement, has drawn a surprisingly large salary for this role as chairman of a political party. Photo: Tomio.cz.
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Free flow of money between party and leader is suspicious, weekly says

Prague, April 24 (ČTK) — The private money of Tomio Okamura, whose Dawn of Direct Democracy movement entered the Czech Chamber of Deputies in October 2013, is suspiciously interlinked with the money of the Dawn, and he seems to use the party as a new model of political business, Bohumil Pečinka says in the weekly Reflex today.

Okamura has repeatedly declined to answer journalists' questions about the Dawn's financing and mainly about the transfers of money from the party coffers to his private bank account, Pečinka writes.

Financial scandals frequently rock other parties as well, but Okamura's model is unique in many respects, Pečinka writes.

Other parties' scandals usually break out over unveiled, false sponsors. In the case of the Dawn, 984,483 Kč was transferred twice from the party coffers to Okamura's account immediately after last October's general election, Pečinka writes.

The money went to Okamura for his work for the Dawn, Pečinka says.

Before, it was unimaginable for political parties to send millions of crowns to their respective chairpersons for their work as chairpersons, Pečinka points out.

It has turned out, he writes, that millions of crowns were transferred from the Dawn to Okamura not only in late 2013 but also in January and February 2014. A total of 4 million Kč was transferred this way, which raises the suspicion that it was a money-siphoning system that Okamura set up long beforehand and which failed only in March when an external auditor highlighted it as controversial, Pečinka writes.

The auditor's statement caused panic among the Dawn's leaders, who have released one explanation after another since, he adds.

The official explanation is that Okamura used his private account to pay companies for their assistance in the Dawn's election campaign, Pečinka writes.

Unofficially, Dawn members have been told that Okamura lent money to the party, which is now repaying the loan to him. However, no documents exist to prove the loan, Pečinka writes.

Only Okamura can offer the truth by presenting his accounting books, checked by an auditor. Otherwise the transactions can be viewed as suspected tax fraud, which is a matter for the police to deal with, Pečinka writes.

Elsewhere in Reflex, Dušan Šrámek points to Jaroslav Novák, an infamous "semi– éminence grise of Czech politics," who is Okamura's adviser now and most recently he has been smoothing out Okamura's problem with Dawn's financing.

Insiders have dubbed Novák "Okamura's Rasputin" in view of the influence he has on the Dawn leader, Šrámek writes.

In a recent media interview, Novák asserted that the Dawn's accounting books are in chaos, but that this changes nothing about Okamura, who supposedly has sent much more money to Dawn [than what he has drawn from it], Šrámek writes.

Citing witnesses and other evidence, Šrámek describes Novák as an unreliable liar who makes up stories, including his friendship with journalists, politicians and anti-communist dissidents, to attract attention.

The Dawn of Direct Democracy is a new movement that many commentators label as "populist."

It reportedly only has a few members. In the October elections, it gained 6.18 percent of the vote and 14 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies. It presents the promotion of direct democracy, mainly a general referendum law, as its priority.

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