At the end of September this year, Prague businessman Martin Horák died in one of the hotels in Dubai. His name was not well known to the public, yet he figured in a number of cases that swayed Czech politics. Emirati authorities have ruled the death a suicide. But according to Seznam Zpráv investigative reporter Janek Kroupa, his death is strange.
What you will also hear in today’s episode at 5:59
- Who was Martin Horák and why should the Czech authorities be interested in his death?
- What causes is the name of businessman Horák associated with?
- And what are the chances that we will find out what exactly happened in the Dubai apartment on that fateful day?
Businessman Martin Horák played a smaller or larger role in various domestic cases. He figured, for example, in the case of ex-minister Miroslav Toman regarding suspicion of corruption in the Ministry of Agriculture, and the police were also interested in him because of the Dosimeter case.
His name was absent from public consciousness for a long time. Last March, however, he “became famous” when he flew to Doha, Qatar, accompanied by the then castle chancellor Vratislav Mynář. The trip to the local emir, who was given an invitation to visit the Czech Republic, was revealed by a photo from the plane published by the iRozhlas.cz server. At the same time, the mission took place without the knowledge of the government or just the foreign minister.
More than a year and a half later, at the end of this September, Horák died under strange circumstances while on vacation in Dubai. “We know very little about what happened in the hotel suite. Because when Martin Horák was supposed to jump from the terrace of the Atlantis Hotel, only Martin Horák was there,” explains Seznam Zpráv investigative reporter Janek Kroupa.
Kroupa himself had known the man – who, according to his findings, maintained relations with Military Intelligence and the Security Information Service – for many years and had recently mapped his last traces. Now, in an interview with the 5:59 podcast, the reporter adds more details from his search.
And he explains why, among other things, he finds the case interesting. “Martin Horák, by what he did, who he did it for and how long he did it, his life provides the key to a lot of cases that took place here. And there are really a lot of them,” Kroupa points out.
Plans for the afterlife
The authorities of the United Arab Emirates are talking about Horák’s fall from the terrace as a suicide, the businessman’s behavior in his last days also shows a different shade.
“It was obvious that the day before his departure he had several important meetings regarding important cases and agreed on things that far exceeded the time when he was supposed to die,” describes Kroupa.
According to the reporter, Horák was planning a number of important meetings, including meeting with people from the General Financial Directorate or he also wanted to meet with his source in Military Intelligence. And, for example, he also ordered new skis for his daughter because of the vacation they were supposed to go on as a family in the winter. “Such things are done by a person who sees some perspective in his life. Of course, he also solved a number of problems. But the ones I saw, he managed to solve in such a way that they did not immediately threaten him. And they certainly did not threaten him in the near future,” the reporter thinks.
One of these matters was also related to the well-known Dozimetr corruption case, in which criminal investigators suggested indicting, for example, the alleged head of the group, Michal Redl, or former Prague politician Petr Hlubuček. The police arrested businessman Horák about a week before his death, apparently in connection with his recent meeting with one of the suspects in this case, Jindřich Špringle. At the same time, the detectives also copied the contents of Horák’s laptop and phone on that occasion. And that’s exactly what the businessman was afraid of.
“Horák knew that he had stored the documentation for the contract for the tram line through Wenceslas Square from when it was not put out to tender. And the last day before he left, he met with his lawyer and figured out how to defend it, because of course he shouldn’t have had it on his computer. And during that meeting he managed to solve the alibi. So in this particular case, from my point of view, there was no reason to be afraid,” describes Kroupa.
“Laxity of the Czech authorities”
If the Emirati authorities are talking about the death of a Prague businessman as a suicide, what knowledge have the Czech criminal investigators collected? According to Prague police spokesman Jan Daňko, they are looking into the case. But reporter Kroupa objects that they haven’t actually done anything yet. “Honestly speaking, what irritates me most about this is the laxity of the Czech authorities. And I can’t explain it rationally,” he says.
At the same time, the journalist points out that the police officers and representatives of the intelligence services did not speak to anyone of the dozens of people whom he himself approached regarding the reconstruction of the last days of Martin Horák.
“I don’t understand how it is possible for someone to die under somewhat strange circumstances and the police publicly say that they will deal with it, but time is running out. Time is a very important aspect in putting together that picture of the last days of Martin Horák, because people forget details, they hear a lot of things around them. Of course, their perception of the event changes over time. And the police have already missed all this,” the reporter points out.
In the 5:59 podcast, you will also learn what role Martin Horák had in the negotiations with the Qatari emir or in the case concerning the ex-Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman. Listen in the player at the beginning of the article.
Editor and Co-Editor: Matěj Válek, Dominika Kubištová
Sound design and music: Martin Hůla
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