Swiss police detain Czech KSČM MEP Ransdorf over alleged fraud
Prague/Zurich, Dec 4 (ČTK) — Czech MEP Miloslav Ransdorf (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, KSČM), 62, who was detained in Switzerland on Thursday over an alleged attempt at financial fraud, was released by the Swiss police today, Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronová told the Czech News Agency.
Czech weekly Respekt was the first to report about Randsorf’s detention. Later today, the information was confirmed to ČTK by the spokesman for the Zurich police, Marco Cortesi.
An attempted financial fraud is reportedly involved in the case.
The Slovak Interior Ministry’s spokesman Ivan Netík told the Reuters agency that Ransdorf and three Slovak nationals, who were arrested together with him, attempted to draw €350 million from a bank in Zurich using false identity documents.
Cortesi told ČTK that the police have detained four men, including Ransdorf. They were questioned by the police and handed to the state attorney’s office in Zurich. He would not provide more information on the case.
The Czech Foreign Ministry said the Swiss informed it that Ransdorf and three other persons were detained while committing a financial crime.
The Slovak dennikn.sk server wrote that three Slovaks attempted to draw the above sum from a bank in which an account in Ransdorf’s name is kept on Thursday. The server wrote that the Slovaks were stooges.
Dennikn.sk wrote that three Slovaks together with Ransdorf entered the Swiss bank, which, however, refused to carry out the huge transaction because the birth date on a document submitted was not correct. The men allegedly started to be aggressive and the police had to intervene. An investigation into the origin of the money started, the server wrote.
KSČM chairman Vojtěch Filip confirmed the information on Randsorf’s detention earlier today and said Ransdorf will be released and investigated at liberty according to the information he gained through the Czech embassy in Switzerland.
He said he does not know any details of the case and that he wants to talk to Ransdorf about it.
Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, ČSSD) told journalists that it was most probably an attempted financial fraud.
Jana Macaliková, spokeswoman for the Czech Police Presidium, told ČTK that the police cooperate with the Swiss in the investigation into an attempted fraud in which allegedly a Czech citizen participated. She did not have any more information.
EP spokesman Jaume Duch-Gillot told ČTK that the immunity of MEPs applies only to political activities linked to their mandate.
In this concrete case, if an obvious crime were involved, it is hard to imagine it being covered by immunity, Duch-Gillot said, but added this is a matter for the Swiss attorney to decide.
According to Lagronová, MEP’s immunity does not apply to Ransdorf in Switzerland.
Lagronová said she does not know whether Ransdorf has a diplomatic passport.
Media have written about Ransdorf besides politics also in connection with debts of millions of crowns arising from his loan for the construction of a villa.
He faced distraint and an auction of his villa as well as flat. In 2013, he allegedly repaid the debts after ten years.
In 2013, Ransdorf had an incident with a Dutch television reporter whom he attacked both verbally and physically after he accused him of an allegedly unfair reporting of his presence in the European Parliament.
According to media, Ransdorf is a witness and an aggrieved party in an extensive case of traffickers in forgeries of works by world famous painters. The case includes more than ten damaged persons from the Czech Republic and abroad.
In the past, philosopher Ransdorf, a former Czech Chamber of Deputies lawmaker, had problems with law in the past mainly because of traffic accidents. In June 2007, he knocked down a woman on a pedestrian crossing in Prague. He financially settled the accident with the woman.
In 2014, he knocked down in Prague a young woman who suffered injuries and was taken to hospital. The accident was first investigated as a possible crime, but based on an expert’s opinion it was qualified as a misdemeanor against the safety and continuity of road traffic.