When an officially filed anti-corruption notice drew attention to him a week ago, Deputy Minister of Justice Antonín Stanislav (ODS) was initially silent.
And this despite the fact that his direct subordinate, the director of the insolvency department, Jan Benýšek, wrote in it: “In 2016, as a direct subordinate of Antonín Stanislav, who was then in charge of managing the insolvency department, I informed the leadership of the Ministry of Justice about the reasonable suspicion that the examinations of insolvency administrators there is a violation of the law.” And he added that the subsequent checks to see if the law was actually being violated were the reason why Antonín Stanislav left the ministry seven years ago.
The deputy’s reaction came with distance. At first, Benýšek’s announcement was labeled a lie by Blažek’s ministry just a few dozen hours after it was submitted, a similar statement by the deputy himself was published later.
“The data has already been refuted as false by law enforcement authorities and criminal courts,” the office said, and Blažk’s deputy subsequently added that the criminal court had labeled the claim about his former forced departure from the ministry as defamation. However, he did not publish the judgments despite the request of reporters.
The verdicts from 2018 to 2020, to which Deputy Stanislav and the Ministry refer, were, however, managed to be obtained by Seznám Zprává. Two things are evident from them – the court limited itself to examining the veracity of the information from a single e-mail, which related to a different type of exams than those pointed out by Benýšek. And even in this extraordinary case, he also stated that it was not a crime of defamation.
Claims from a single email
The case to which Deputy Stanislav refers began in 2016.
At that time, an insolvency administrator, whose name is known to the reporters, provided information to the editor of the Česká justice server under the condition of anonymity. According to her, the former authorized head of the ministry’s insolvency department, Antonín Stanislav, was recording to another specific insolvency administrator. For example, by not inviting him to review the authority of the special administrator, although he should have done so according to the established rules and time limits.
The problem was that the source made a mistake and submitted the information to the Czech Justice with a time inaccuracy – he was wrong about the date of the exams by a year. However, the journalist took over the information and published it almost verbatim, even with a mistake.
And when the insolvency administrator named in the article began to defend himself, the editor of Czech Justice revealed the name of his source to him. And this despite the fact that, according to his later testimony in court, he promised to protect his identity.
Court: It was not a crime of defamation
The matter went to court because the challenged colleague filed a criminal complaint for defamation against the divulged insolvency administrator, and today’s deputy Stanislav joined him at the time.
It is the court verdict from this case – and the fact that the defamation was confirmed by the court – that Deputy Stanislav and Pavel Blažek are now arguing. However, the verdicts obtained by Seznam Zrávami say something different than the deputy and his minister.
According to them, the court ruled that even in this isolated case, the crime of defamation was not involved. The insolvency administrator settled with the challenged colleague by agreement and the court acquitted her of the charges.
“Especially for less serious crimes, it is necessary to carefully consider whether it is really necessary to punish the given illegal act as a criminal offense. This is especially true in this particular case, when conduct is being prosecuted that has a private law basis, that is, when the application of responsibility and protection against this conduct is offered by means of private law,” the court said in the judgment.
Testimony and documents
Despite this, Blažk’s deputy Antonín Stanislav, a trained lawyer, related the judgment in the case of the insolvency administrator both to the anti-corruption notice of his subordinate Benýšek and to the text of Seznam Zpráv, which reported on it.
“The spread of this claim, which appeared already in 2016, was marked as defamation by the public prosecution authorities and subsequently by the criminal court on the basis of a criminal complaint filed by me,” said Stanislav, for example, on the X social network.
I have to mark the claim as completely false @seznamzpravythat I “… had to leave the Ministry of Justice for the first time in 2016 due to serious suspicions regarding the manipulation of insolvency administrators’ examinations”.
The spread of this claim, which appeared as early as 2016, was public authorities…
— Antonín Stanislav (@antonin_stanisl) November 27, 2023
In the text of Seznam Zpráv, however, the reporters described other cases of manipulations than those pointed out by the insolvency administrator. They also relied on witness statements, but also on documents obtained from Blažek’s ministry.
Seznam The reports stated how, at the time when Blažk’s current deputy headed the insolvency department, an inspection at the instigation of Jan Benýšek revealed manipulation of insolvency administrators’ examinations. In at least one case, one of the insolvency administrators lost her authorization because part of her answers matched almost word for word the sample assignment prepared for the evaluator, which was supposed to be kept secret.
Ministry: He left by agreement
According to the judgments with which Stanislav defended himself, neither the court nor the police investigated whether there was manipulation of exams at the time when the responsible department was headed by Stanislav. And they didn’t even find out whether Stanislav left the ministry due to the exposed manipulations that Benýšek reported to his superiors. The authorities were satisfied with the general statement of the then deputy deputy of the judicial and legislative section of the Ministry of Justice, Klára Cetlová, that the article of the Czech judiciary on the case described above had no influence on Stanislav’s departure from the ministry.
“The department, which was managed by Mgr. Stanislav, showed long-term problems, they were of an organizational nature and there was an agreement with Mgr. Stanislav that he will leave this post,” said Cetlová, adding that the ministry evaluated the text of the Czech justice system as untrue and had no impact on Stanislav’s work in the department.
At that time, Klára Cetlová did not provide details about the result of the checks of insolvency administrators, who verified the Report List with the help of testimonies and documents.
Not even the fact that Antonín Stanislav had to explain to his colleagues during the examination in 2016 how it is possible that part of the exams give the described impression.
According to Seznam Zpráv sources familiar with the case, the superiors at the time could not prove who exactly manipulated the exams in the department that Stanislav headed. The current Deputy Minister Blažek created a system in which he sent classified information about exams to several people.
Who is Antonín Stanislav?
- Stanislav is the vice-chairman of the ODS in the Hradec Králové Region. In recent years, he sponsored the party with tens of thousands of crowns.
- In 2016, he left the Ministry of Justice, where he worked as an authorized director of the insolvency department. This happened after the discovery of suspicious examinations of insolvency administrators.
- Minister of Justice Pavel Blažek made Stanislav his political deputy last January.
- In addition to his ministerial duties, Stanislav also commutes to be the director of a home for the elderly in Tmavé Dol.