Photo of Brno mayor with lines of white powder spreads on social media

Markéta Vaňková claims that she does not remember what happened while maintaining her innocence.

Thomas Smith ČTK

Written by Thomas SmithČTK Published on 01.08.2023 12:46:00 (updated on 01.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A photo that appears to show Brno Mayor Markéta Vaňková of the Civic Democrats (ODS) being handed white powder on a mobile phone with a rolled-up banknote has surfaced on social media, prompting calls for her dismissal.

Vaňková initially said that the picture may have been photoshopped, but later acknowledged that it could have originated after meeting a group of youths in Brno “two or three years ago.” However, she said that she does not recall whether the contents of the picture show what actually happened.

It is important to note that no image exists of the mayor actually taking, or using, any illicit substances.

Matěj Hollan, a former Brno deputy mayor and now a city assemblyman for the opposition Greens and Live Brno alliance, shared the photo on the internet, adding that he does not know whether the photo is genuine or who its author is. He also said that he does not see "anything scandalous" about it, according to Blesk.

"We were at a social event that went on until the night and when we were returning we came across a group of young, cheerful people in the center with whom we got to talk...we spent several dozen minutes with them”

Markéta Vaňková in an interview with TV Nova

A 46-year-old lawyer, she has been serving as the mayor of Brno since 2018, overseeing the capital of Moravia and Czechia's second-largest city.

The photo also shows the current Brno mayor accompanied by her deputy Robert Kerndl, also part of the ODS party – the largest in the current government coalition.

Vaňková maintains that she has no experience with hard drugs and only occasionally indulges in a glass of wine, beer, or legal cannabis use.

The mayor has been active in politics for over two decades, joining the ODS in 2002. In 2020, the Czech National Central Office against Organized Crime investigated Vaňková over the illegitimate and corrupt purchase of property that had belonged to the municipality of Brno. No charges were brought against her.

She recently represented Czechia on the world stage. In March, she met with senior representatives from Taiwan to sign a memorandum of understanding and cooperation to make Brno a partner city with Taoyuan, in the north of Taiwan.

Opposition deputy Monika Lukášová Spilková of the Pirate Party spoke today about the need “to discuss this with our colleagues and we also need to clarify this with the mayor.” The Brno mayor is awaiting further investigations to inspect the authenticity of the photo, and in the meantime, she claims she is innocent.

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