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The outgoing Minister of Education Petr Gazdík and MEP Stanislav Polčák, until recently the leading politicians of the STAN movement, are unable to explain how they paid the private company CircleTech for the encryption software that their mobile phones had been equipped with for more than a decade.
It is the same anti-eavesdropping software used by a group around Zlín businessman Michal Redl, prosecuted on suspicion of corruption in a Prague transport company.
Petr Gazdík states that he never paid anything for cryptographic protection, the current price of which is in the order of tens of thousands of crowns. He refers to his colleague Polčák, who was supposed to provide him with a telephone.
“You must ask Mr. Polčák. I didn’t pay anything, “Gazdík answered the question List of News. However, even the MEP Polčák did not say that he would ever pay anything himself. However, he admitted that he had a special price from the business owner.
About 150 thousand in 10 years
Clients of the aforementioned Prague company CircleTech normally pay CZK 70,000 for the use of the license for the first two years of use. And then for the renewal for every two years the amount of 19.5 thousand.
Theoretically, each user will pay about 150 thousand crowns in ten years. A housewife with Polčák such a service would cost a total of 300 thousand.
This pricing policy was stated by CircleTech Sales Director Radim Rindler when asked by the List of News, and it was also confirmed to the editors by one of the users of cryptographic protection, stating that the company has been on the same principle for many years.
The sales director of CircleTech told the editorial office what would happen if one of the clients did not pay for the renewal of the license, which also includes software updates. “We will turn off the SIP account, ie the connection of the user through the application with other users,” he briefly described the consequences.
If Petr Gazdík and Stanislav Polčák did not pay properly in two-year cycles, their phones would remain functional, but they would no longer call anyone else in this “discreet” way.
However, according to police findings, both politicians used the phone with encryption until recently to talk to Michal Redl, who comes from the Zlín region like them.
I got it for Public Affairs
“I assume that he (Polčák) paid for it,” said Minister Gazdík again, referring to his colleague from STAN, who announced his resignation in connection with the criminal case.
Even from his words, he had no idea that a renewal fee was normally paid after two years. “If I have the right information, it is a one-time acquisition fee and nothing is paid anymore,” he said.
The Minister also said that he “received” a phone with an encryption application from his colleague Polčák in 2011. “This is due to possible wiretaps by Věci veřejné,” he justified accepting a specially equipped mobile phone by referring to the activities of the former government party, which was part of Nečasov cabinet.
As a reminder: The informal leader of Public Affairs was the entrepreneur Vít Bárta, who owned the ABL security agency before entering politics with his family.
- Prague software company, was founded in 2004.
- It entered the market in 2005 with the offer of secure SMS communication.
- She herself states that already in 2007, in the form of “unacceptable pressure”, she tried to obtain the key to her system, the Security Information Service.
- In 2010, it introduced a new application for complete encryption of calls, messages and e-mails.
- And in the same year, the daily MF Dnes reported on another case in which BIS officers allegedly tried to push the then co-owner of the company Jiří Šatánek to make the system accessible so that the secret service could access the content of encrypted communication.
Special incentive policy
Even MEP Polčák did not dispel the questions about paying for special software. He did not provide a satisfactory answer to the repeated question about his and Gazdík’s phone.
He explicitly ruled out the purchase of their mobile phones by Michal Redl, who, according to the findings of the police, distributed them due to conspiracy to other members of the group, which is now being prosecuted by the police.
Stanislav Polčák indicated that they had special price conditions from CircleTech. “Mr. Gazdík and I bought it (software) right at the very beginning of its operation, when the owner set a special licensing incentive policy,” Polčák responded without clarifying the details of the indicated benefit.
“You have to contact the software owner, that’s how it was explained to us. We were one of the introductory group of users. At that time, there was a belief that Mr. Bárta had the means to eavesdrop on communication and the interest in the protection of politically sensitive information was considerable, “Polčák also links the acquisition of telephones with the alleged activities of a former politician in Public Affairs.
The MEP did not say who specifically gave them special price conditions from CircleTech. He stopped communicating with the List News after a series of questions.
Former Němec is silent
Pavel Němec, the former Minister of Justice from 2004 to 2006, is also mentioned in connection with CircleTech, although he does not appear anywhere in the Commercial Register. The management of CircleTech does not comment on Němec. According to the police, Pavel Němec was also in contact with the currently prosecuted Michal Redl. It was he who was to mediate the delivery of specially equipped mobile phones to Redl’s group.
Whether Polčák and possibly Gazdík negotiated with cost-effective telephones with a defense against eavesdropping with Pavel Němec also remained unanswered by politicians.
Pavel Němec tried to contact Seznam Zprávy through his law firm. He did not comment on the matter.
With the contribution of Radek Nohl and Ondřej Koutník.