Václav Wallis: Getting used to the gallows

Photo: Vladimír Weiss

Last spring, after a ten-year wait, this former intelligence officer for the Security Information Service (BIS) was finally absolved of an accusation that he had abused his authority as a public servant and endangered state secrecy. The court failed to prove that in 1992 Wallis (58) blackmailed the former Harvard Funds president Viktor Kožený by offering to sell him secret materials about Kožený allegedly collected by the BIS. However, 20 months in detention and persistent doubt had an irreversible influence on his life.

THIS CHEMICAL technology graduate did not continue in his profession for long. Following 1968 he worked at the interior ministry in various positions. During the Cold War he was an intelligence officer concerned with the NATO states, and at the end of the ’70s he worked as a spy in the UK. After the regime change in 1989, he went to work for BIS, but after a year and a half he had to leave the service, along with other intelligence “dinosaurs”. Then, based on a recommendation by an acquaintance, he tried to get a job as a marketing analyst in Viktor Kožený’s Harvard Funds, but never began working there due to his arrest. “I probably played the role of sacrificial lamb. Kožený learned that his activities were under investigation, and in order to avoid prosecution, he was the first to go on the offensive. He ensured that our actions came to light, and the focus of the investigation was shifted from him to me,” Wallis explains.
“I lost my job, I was publicly vilified, and I was completely exhausted psychologically,” he says of the stressful period, but adds that his family and friends stood by him. “One can even get used to the gallows,” he remarks. Despite repeated attempts to find employment, he never lasted long. In most cases “two mysterious gentlemen” appeared after a few days and asked his employers to let him go. He retired at age 55 and tried to supplement his CZK 8,000 per month pension in various ways, but since this September he has once again been unemployed. He spends his weekends with his family at a cottage in southern Bohemia, which they managed to fix up thanks partly to CZK 220,000 that he received as compensation for unjustified imprisonment. And what does he think about the Prague Pirate? “I feel sorry for him. The Czechs probably won’t be able to arrest him in the Bahamas, but the Americans whom he defrauded with Azerbaijan stocks will pursue him relentlessly until they catch him,” he states with conviction.

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