Although the castle administration changed considerably after the accession of Petr Pavel, one of the leading managers – the director of the Lány Forestry Administration, Pavel Rus – remained in it from the era of Miloš Zeman. Just before the end of his mandate, Rus was appointed by Chancellor Vratislav Mynář.
The fact that Pavel Rus stayed was also justified by the new chancellor with the argument that she had no information that his selection was manipulated. Jana Vohralíková also added that Mynář’s selection committee also included people who were not employees of the Castle.
Seznam The News has now found out that the two members of the commission who came from outside and consecrated the appointment of Pavel Rus to Mynář were hosted by the Lány Forestry Administration in the presidential park. The circumstances of the hunts there have been investigated by the police for a long time, and the two mentioned members of the selection committee remain silent about them.
Two colonels came
Kamil Vyslyšel, the former director of the State Forests of the Czech Republic, also appointed Pavel Rus as the best candidate for the post of director of the Lány Forestry Administration as a member of the commission.
Today he works as the director of the Pilsen branch of the Institute for Forest Management and pro Seznam Zprava said that he knows Pavel Rus well.
Kamil Vyslyšel refused to answer a direct question about whether Pavel Rus had invited him to the field to hunt after his appointment. He argued that it was part of an investigation by the police, who questioned him about the hunts.
“There were two colonels behind me. I gave some answers there. I don’t want to comment on that. I will neither confirm nor deny it,” said Vyslyšel. He also refused to answer the question whether he had paid for the hunted game or whether it was part of a free invitation.
At the same time, however, Kamil Vyslyšel insists that he independently selected Pavel Rus as the best candidate for the post of director of the presidential forest administration in the commission.
He added that the selection committee had five members. He and Jakub Kleindienst, the bursar of the Czech University of Life Sciences, were not the only employees of the Castle. “Mr. Rus really sniffed. He gave a great performance,” said Kamil Vyslyšel.
As director of Lesů ČR, this manager issued controversial tenders years ago and subsequently quit his position after a storm of complaints.
Now, according to his words, among other things, he advises the Russian on the running of the field, just as he helped Balák before. “If the numbers were reduced by a third there, nothing would happen at all,” responded Vyslyšel when asked how he sees the numbers of game in the presidential park.
He was here, but we didn’t hunt together
Pavel Rus himself was visibly taken aback by the question at the beginning of the year – shortly after Vyslyšel’s vote had chosen him to head the Lány forest administration - a former member of the selection committee in Lány even hunted.
“Then I have to check, I don’t know anything about it,” responded first the director of the Lány Forestry Administration, followed by a long pause. “I am not aware. Mr. Vyslyšel was here, but we didn’t hunt together,” Pavel Rus finally added, promising to find out how it really was.
Subsequently, however, he no longer picked up the phone to Seznam Zprávám and refused to answer precisely with the same argument as Kamil Vyslyšel in communication via SMS messages. “Given the fact that hunting, leases and public contracts of the Lány Forestry Administration are affected by the ongoing investigation by a third party, we will not comment in any way until the investigation is completed,” he said.
However, Rus’ and Vyslyšel’s evasive answers show new information - that detectives are also interested in the period when Pavel Rus was already the director when examining hunts in the Lánské obora.
Until now, it was known that the police were investigating free hunts from the era of the twice-convicted previous director of the range, Miloš Balák.
“The period from before Mr. Balák to the present is being checked,” Pavel Rus, however, now specifies, who previously admitted to reporters that as a director he let Mynář, accompanied by Balák or his son, be hunted free of charge. At the same time, he claimed that he would end the practice of so-called free hunts for celebrities and acquaintances of people from the Castle. For example, even a possible hunt for Vyslyšela should not be possible.
At the same time, free hunting in the Lánská nature reserve could have caused damage of many millions, because according to the price list, for example, the Castle charges two hundred thousand crowns for the shooting of a large deer. The Supreme Audit Office also criticized it in the inspection report of the Castle, but in its investigation it only focused on the era of Miloš Balák.
I don’t remember who invited me
The second member of the commission, thanks to whose vote Pavel Rus became the director of the forest administration last year after Balák, was Jakub Kleindienst – the quaestor of the Czech University of Life Sciences, who replaced the current president’s chancellor, Jana Vohralíková, on this post.
However, when asked by reporters, even he could not recall the details of how he used the public property managed by the Lány Forestry Administration. However, he ruled out that he would shoot game directly in the park.
“I feel like I once went pheasant hunting in a pheasant coop,” Kleindienst said when asked directly.
And he claims he doesn’t remember who invited him. “I’m sorry, I don’t really remember that, not that I don’t want to,” he responded.
At the same time, he confirmed that he saw the invitation and participation in the hunting event as a social matter and that he did not pay anything for the hunt. The invitation is also justified by the fact that the agricultural university has common property with the forest administration, and the university must therefore cooperate with it.
Even Jakub Kleindienst rules out that he would be influenced by the hospitality in his assessment of who should continue to lead the Lány Forestry Administration – an organization with an annual budget of 80 million.
“Given my past, I hope that no one could have assumed that I, in particular, would help this group in any way. I really voted according to my best conscience,” said the man who in 2018 headed the presidential campaign of Zeman’s opponent, Jiří Drahoš.
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