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Exit the Dragon

Exit the Dragon

Early in the morning on January 8th, agents of the Polish Internal Security Agency entered the homes of Piotr D. and Wejing W. The former, who used to work in special services, was a manager at Orange, a telecommunications company. The latter was the head of sales at Poland’s Huawei’s office. They were charged with acts of espionage for China and jailed for three months. They are currently facing ten years in prison. The decision to detain them was unprecedented. Never before had a Chinese citizen been detained in Poland on espionage charges. The services had paid little attention to...

Video Shows Slovak Ex-Prosecutor Working With Alleged Murderer

Video Shows Slovak Ex-Prosecutor Working With Alleged Murderer

Leaked footage obtained by OCCRP shows Slovakia’s former Prosecutor General Dobroslav Trnka setting up a camera in what is believed to be his office with someone who appears to be controversial businessman and murder suspect Marian Kočner. The video provides new evidence of the two men’s close working relationship. The exact date and nature of the recording has still not been confirmed, but their dialogue suggests that they planned to document at least one meeting taking place in the room, which would mark a grave and unprecedented breach of duty for a Slovak public official. On Thursday, Slovak media reported that current Prosecutor General...

Czech Weapons in Azerbaijan: How a Chassis Turned into a Howitzer

Czech Weapons in Azerbaijan: How a Chassis Turned into a Howitzer

Two years ago, when the Azerbaijani army showed off their Czech Dana howitzers and Vampire rocket launchers in a promotional video, it attracted extraordinary media attention: the Czech Republic does not officially export military equipment to this country. The arms branch of the Czechoslovak Group immediately rushed to make an official statement that, in accordance with its license, it had exported only Tatra chassis. The Czech government also denied any involvement in the export of these howitzers and rocket launchers. But new findings from investigace.cz reporters show that the ministry knew from the start the chassis would be transformed into...

Ivan Golunov: I’d like to get back to my normal life

Ivan Golunov: I’d like to get back to my normal life

Ivan Golunov is a Russian investigative journalist. In early June he was detained in Moscow on drug-related charges, where he faced a potential 20-year prison sentence. After it became clear that the police planted the drugs on him, a public outrage erupted and thousands of people took to the streets. The detained journalist was – in an unprecedented way – supported both by local media and high-ranking officials, including Vladimir Putin. Golunov was released after six days. Currently, he’s accompanied by state-sponsored bodyguards. We sat down for an exclusive interview with Ivan Golunov in Riga, Latvia, where we talked about...

Budapest – Welcoming Gateway to Europe for Russian Bank

Budapest – Welcoming Gateway to Europe for Russian Bank

The management board of the Russian-led International Investment Bank (IIB) held its first meeting in its new headquarters, Budapest, this week. The move of IIB from Moscow to Budapest has been controversial since it was announced: experts, historians and the media have been worried that the bank would be a tool for the Kremlin to plant spies in the EU or launder money – which both IIB and the Hungarian government denied several times, claiming that it was a regular international bank. However, a regional overview by VSquare reporters reveals that out of the Visegrad countries, it was only the Hungarian government...

A Real-Life Game of Monopoly in Mariánské Lázně

A Real-Life Game of Monopoly in Mariánské Lázně

The beauty of Mariánské Lázně, a Czech spa town located in West Bohemia, is so exceptional that it has actually become something of a disadvantage. Among other things, it attracts foreign investors searching for places to invest their money. Their priority is often only the ownership of a building and they care for its condition. The iconic houses of Mariánské Lázně are, therefore, often neglected and left to deteriorate. The Kazakh spa Once one of Marianské lážně’s most iconic buildings; now, a crumbling wreck: the Miramonte Building was a chateau that also served as a children’s sanatorium at one time. It...