Femme fatale behind Czech PM's demise

Jana Nagyova, chief of staff and alleged lover of Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas, has gone from loyal servant to femme fatale by wielding immense power that ultimately toppled her boss.

Necas has resigned after Nagyova was indicted last week on charges of bribery and complicity in abuse of power for instructing military spies to tail his estranged wife.

Seven senior officials and former lawmakers have also been charged in the corruption scandal, six of whom are in police custody along with Nagyova to keep them from influencing witnesses.

Before her arrest the 48-year-old Nagyova possessed government influence far beyond her job description.

"Her power is directly proportional to the weakness of Petr Necas," the weekly Reflex wrote about the former accountant, who hails from the country's west.

"When there wasn't room for her in a carriage taking the prime minister to the opening of a farming exhibition, everyone had to walk," the weekly added in February, citing a source close to the government.

Czech media have long speculated that the bespectacled Necas, a physicist short on charisma, and his aide had become romantically involved.

"What has bothered her most since she was arrested is the fact that police have heard her intimate phone calls," Nagyova lawyer Eduard Bruna told the Pravo daily on Monday.

"The detectives know that they have an intimate relationship."

The dynamic aide, who often changes her hair colour and is now a blonde, has been inseparable from Necas since 2006, unlike his 47-year-old wife Radka who has carefully avoided the limelight.

Necas said last week he was getting a divorce after announcing in January the couple had separated.

Nagyova was Necas' chief of staff when he was minister of labour and social affairs in 2006-2009.

She then followed him to the premier's office in July 2010.

"She was not legitimately elected, she has no political responsibility, and yet I paid dear for having fallen out of favour with her," Michal Doktor, a lawmaker who broke ranks with Necas' Civic Democrats in 2011, told Reflex.

Nagyova first made headlines early last year for receiving hefty bonuses from Necas, who sparked giggles when he explained that "she works like a horse".

Nagyova's meteoric rise came to a crashing halt last week when she was arrested in an unprecedented police swoop over the spy allegations.

Police said Nagyova had "exerted pressure on Petr Necas to bring about the divorce from wife Radka".

The aide is also suspected of promising lucrative jobs in state-run companies to three former lawmakers from Necas' party on condition they quit parliament, and of contact with entrepreneurs of disrepute.

She faces five years in prison if convicted.

Her lawyer said "she had acted in good faith" by wanting to protect the premier and his wife from scandal.

The premier's wife "allegedly got in touch with the Jehovah's Witnesses and began to raise money for gifts," Bruna told the novinky.cz news site.

"And since Ms Nagyova didn't like it and thought it would be good to monitor, she requested surveillance."

A regular at Prague's poshest boutiques, Nagyova can rely on her family to stick with her through thick and thin.

Her daughters Nikola and Stepanka posted photos to Facebook on Friday wearing T-shirts that expressed their support: "Love my mum!"

- AFP

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