Stanislav Gross

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Stanislav Gross
5th Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
In office
4 August 2004 – 25 April 2005
Preceded by Vladimír Špidla
Succeeded by Jiří Paroubek
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
26 June 2004 – 26 April 2005
Preceded by Vladimír Špidla
Succeeded by Bohuslav Sobotka (acting)
Personal details
Born (1969-10-30) 30 October 1969 (age 45)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Political party ČSSD
Spouse(s) Šárka Grossová
Profession Lawyer
Religion Christianity
Signature

Stanislav Gross (Czech pronunciation: [ˈstaɲɪslaf ˈɡros]; born 30 October 1969) is a Czech lawyer and former politician who was Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 2004 to 2005. A member of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), he served as Minister of the Interior from 2000 to 2004.

Early political career[edit]

Born in Prague, Gross briefly worked for the state railways company (České dráhy) as an engine-driver trainee. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he became a member of the Social Democratic party and in 1992 member of the parliament. After studies in law from 1993 to 1999 he obtained an academic title, although under less than normal conditions. His thesis had a mere 33 pages.[1]

Minister of the Interior[edit]

On 5 April 2000 he was named interior minister in the government of Miloš Zeman. After elections in 2002, Gross continued as interior minister and became deputy prime minister in the government of Vladimír Špidla.

During his service, several scandals in the police had leaked out: corruption among the highest officials, irregularities in business tenders, and failure to solve serial murders. Gross claimed this is due to a better ability to discover such behaviour within the police force. Gross was also criticized for installing his friends and allies as executives in state-owned companies and for misuse of secret services for political aims.[2]

In spite of these problems, Gross was able to maintain higher popularity than other politicians (its peak was over 70%). His youthful, photogenic appearance, skills in dealing with media and unwillingness to get involved in controversial decisions or discussions helped.[citation needed]

Prime minister[edit]

In the 2004 European election, ČSSD lost badly and the popularity of the party was low; this led to the resignation of Špidla on 26 July. Gross was appointed prime minister on 4 August 2004 and his government was approved on 24 August.

Gross was seen by his party as the last way to regain popularity and better handle future elections. This was proved wrong; in elections for regional assemblies and Senate elections, the Social Democrats failed again.

Gross claimed he would modernise the party on lines similar to those followed by Tony Blair, but his short time in office and constant involvement with scandals did not give him any time to implement changes. His popularity started to decline, and his involvement in further allegations of nepotism, police corruption, suspicious dealings in state privatisations accelerated the decline.[citation needed]

Financial irregularities[edit]

In early 2005, Gross faced a scandal related to unclear origins of the loan to buy his flat. It was found that his wife was a business associate of a brothel owner who was later sentenced for insurance fraud to five years[citation needed] in prison. Criticism from the media and record public dissatisfaction grew into a government crisis. For three months, Gross tried to keep himself in power until he was forced to resign on 25 April 2005. His popularity sunk to a record low, and trust in politicians among Czech people was shattered.[3]

In September 2005 Gross stepped down from his remaining position of party leader. The reason was growing suspicion about corruption during the privatization of chemical conglomerate Unipetrol to the Polish PKN Orlen, involving Gross.

Gross denied all accusations as an absurd conspiracy against him.[4]

Later life[edit]

After leaving the world of top level politics Gross started to work for the Law Office of Eduard Bruna. Between April 2006 and January 2007 he served as the chairman of Security Commission of the Social Democrats (bezpečnostní komise). The media had occasionally speculated about his influence on decisions made within the Czech police.[5]

In September 2007, the economics weekly Euro published information that Gross and his wife bought up to a 31% stake in the energy company Moravia Energo. The value of the stake was estimated to be worth about 300 million CZK. The journal calculated that the banks would provide at most two-thirds of the sum and the rest was thus paid by Gross.[6] When this information was published Gross refused to provide details to the press on grounds of privacy.[7] By June 2008 Gross successfully sold his 31% stake for 150 million CZK, his original purchase price was 21 million CZK. The whole deal was very curious and was investigated, but it was quickly found to be a legitimate business deal according to the Czech Police[8]

On 18 March 2008 he failed the bar exam,[9] but has since passed it and opened a private law practice.[10] Gross was awarded his law degree by the University of West Bohemia at Plzen. In 2009 this University has been the centre of investigations into allegations of law degrees being awarded after only a few months study. Gross was mentioned during the investigation.

In early 2008 together with his wife Šárka Grossová, they purchased a $735,000 (or 11 million CZK) Hidden Bay luxury condo in Miami, Florida. (review of public online county records show that the property was purchased in his wife's name only). Mr. Gross and his wife also purchased a small 10 million CZK house in need of major renovations about 1 KM from their apartment in Barrandov, Prague, Czech Republic (controversy surrounding the purchase of that apartment was one of the key factors in his stepping down from his prime minister post and leaving politics)[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Central catalogue of the Charles University in Prague
  2. ^ "Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has denied that he has formed special police teams as Interior Minister of for political purposes". 
  3. ^ http://www.radio.cz/en/article/63673/limit
  4. ^ http://zpravy.centrum.cz/domov/clanek.phtml?id=401011
  5. ^ "Gross and his cronies still influential within the police". Hospodářské noviny (in Czech). Czech Republic. Retrieved 25 September 2007. A May 2006 article discusses Gross in context of corruption scandal around production of bio-oil in the Czech Republic 
  6. ^ "Gross family acquires stake in Moravia Energo" (in Czech). journal Euro. Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
  7. ^ "Gross invested 300 million Czech koruny" (in Czech). Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
  8. ^ "Chrenek koupil "Grossuv" dil Moravia Energo za 150 Milionu" (in Czech). 
  9. ^ Zuzana Kaiserová, Gross "rupnul" u advokátní zkoušky, Mladá fronta Dnes 19 March 2008, page A1 (front page), the reporter was present at the exam
  10. ^ "Expremiér Gross složil reparát, může se živit jako advokát" (in Czech). 
  11. ^ "Cena Grossova floridského bytu klesla kvůli krizi o pětinu" (in Czech). 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Václav Grulich
Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic
2000–2004
Succeeded by
František Bublan
Preceded by
Vladimír Špidla
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Jiří Paroubek