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Published: Tuesday July 1, 2014 MYT 1:25:02 AM
Updated: Tuesday July 1, 2014 MYT 1:26:09 AM

Czech ex-PM's aide guilty in scandal that felled government last year

PRAGUE (Reuters) - An ex-aide and now wife of former Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas was found guilty of abuse of power on Monday in a major scandal that exposed their extra-marital affair and toppled the government a year ago.  

    Jana Necasova, who Necas admitted to having an affair with while she was head of his office, was found guilty of illegally ordering the military intelligence service in 2012 to follow Necas's then wife Radka.

    Nacas, who said he knew nothing about the spying, stepped down in June 2013 amid suspicion of graft, abuse of power and improper ties with businessmen. He was in divorce proceedings with Radka at the time and has since married his former aide.

    The charges against Necasova and three military intelligence officers shook the country's political establishment, stoked voter frustration at corruption in politics and helped the centre-left win an early election last October. 

Necasova was given a suspended one year sentence and banned for four years from holding senior public service posts. A court spokesman confirmed the verdict of the summary criminal judgment, a simplified court procedure, but gave no details.

    A large part of the investigation, focused on a suspicion that the prime minister had traded perks for dissenting members of parliament to have them resign, mostly fell apart after a court ruled they were covered by immunity.

    Another branch of the investigations, involving alleged improper contacts between powerful businessmen and the cabinet office, has not brought any results so far. 

    The military intelligence officers also charged in the case were acquitted, a court spokeswoman said, but two of them may be punished under a military disciplinary procedure.

    The verdict is not final because prosecutors have appealed the ruling of the simplified court procedure, meaning a full trial will have to be held.

    "We believe the matter must be tried in a full hearing with all the charged people," Istvan told Reuters.

    Necasova, formerly known by her family name Nagyova, argued in the past that the surveillance was ordered to protect Necas's first wife.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Robert Muller; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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