Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Czechs protest against TI's info on MEPs' extra income

ČTK |
12 July 2018

Prague/Brussels, July 11 (CTK) - Several Czech MEPs have protested against the Transparency International's (TI) information that ten out of the Czech 21 MEPs have supplementary incomes in addition to their pay of MEPs and called the TI's data wrong.

In an analysis on Tuesday, the TI EU said almost one third of all MEPs have together earned up to 41 million euros in supplementary incomes since the start of their mandate in mid-2014.

In an accompanying report, the Czech branch of TI said that the TI EU's list of the MEPs with extra incomes includes ten Czechs.

Some of them reacted saying that the TI analysis is based on wrong data and includes, among others, their incomes before the start of their mandate.

"Jan Keller (from 41,000 to 194,000 euros), Pavel Svoboda (from 35,000 to 181,000 euros) and Miroslav Poche (from 24,000 to 48,000 euros) are the three Czech MEPs with the highest supplementary incomes," the Czech branch of TI wrote.

In a statement sent to CTK, Keller (Social Democrats, CSSD) called the information about his supplementary incomes untrue and said the data include a sum he had earned still before being elected an MEP.

Keller has posted his income statement from May 2017 on his website, which shows his supplementary incomes worth under 499 euros and between 500-1000 euros a month for his activities as a journalist and university teacher.

MEP Tomas Zdechovsky (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), too, protested against the analysis putting his supplementary incomes at up to 33,000 euros a year.

"I resolutely protest against the report... They wrongly interpreted my original income as a businessman before my election as a MEP, describing it as my current extra income. I have no extra income. I left business companies and I fully focus on my work as an MEP," Zdechovsky told CTK.

The TI EU's document was also rejected by Svoboda (KDU-CSL).

He said he fully focuses on his work as an MEP and his only paid second job is that of an occasional lecturer at the Faculty of Law of Prague's Charles University.

Poche (CSSD) told CTK that he really had an extra income in the given period. "It was about 8,000 euros a year I earned as a co-owner of a travel agency which I own together with my wife. Despite this, the TI 'study' cannot be considered relevant. I am unpleasantly surprised by the surveying method the TI applied and by its conclusions," Poche said.

The TI report also mentions Czech MEPs Olga Sehnalova (CSSD), Evzen Tosenovsky (Civic Democrats, ODS) and Stanislav Polcak (Mayors and Independents, STAN).

Sehnalova declared an extra monthly income of 37 euros in her mid-2017 property statement. On her website, she says she has earned 965 crowns a month as a member of the town assembly in Kromeriz, south Moravia.

Tosenovsky, in his income statement from 2017, said he has received remuneration as a member of the Moravia-Silesia Region Assembly. He put this income in the category of below 499 euros.

Sehnalova said the TI report fails to distinguish between commercial activities and the remuneration for elected assemblymen, which makes the TI information heavily misleading.

In the case of Polcak, the Czech TI mentions his annual extra income of 12,000 to 60,000 euros. Polcak, in his property statement from June 2017, said he worked as a lawyer with the income between 1,001 and 5,000 euros a month.

Neither the TI EU's analysis nor the Czech TI's report on Twitter have released the whole list of the MEPs with supplementary incomes, but only their partial review.

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