Close to 300 Czech companies moved their headquarters to tax havens in the first half of this year, an increase of 2.5 percent year on year. Analysts say that if the set pace continues in the second half of 2012 it will be the biggest outflow of capital in the last three years. According to data provided by the Czech Capital Information Agency 366,500 companies registered in the Czech Republic are controlled from tax havens. Among the most attractive destinations are the Netherlands, Cyprus and Luxembourg.
The leadership of the TOP 09 coalition party said on Tuesday it fully accepted the presidential candidacy of lawyer Klára Samková. Party deputy leader Miroslav Kalousek said Mrs. Samková was fully entitled to run for president and had not asked for party support. News that the respected lawyer would be joining the presidential race caused some consternation in view of the fact that the party is officially supporting the candidacy of its leader Karel Schwarzenberg. Mrs. Samková, who announced her decision this week, says she is not perceived as a TOP 09 party member but as a dedicated lawyer who specializes in cases involving the rights of minorities.
Shell service stations around the Czech Republic have dramatically cut fuel prices forcing competitors to follow suit. Shell unexpectedly started selling the top selling Natural 95 petrol for 34,90 crowns per litre this week, approximately two crowns below the average, making some 100 rival service stations cut their own prices. Rival companies have filed a complaint at the anti-monopoly office. Shell has refused to comment on its price policy.
A 46-year-old miner died in a mining accident at the Paskov mine in Ostrava on Tuesday, in the north-east of the country, a spokesman for the OKD firm said. The man died tunnelling a corridor 1,100 metres below the surface. The authorities are now investigating the cause of the accident, the third that has been registered this year. Last year, five miners died in accidents in OKD-owned mines.
A court in Germany has sent a thirty-year-old Czech man to seven years in prison for a number of across-the- border robberies in which he threatened his victims with a machete and breaking into a German bakery shop where he and his accomplice were caught red-handed. His accomplice received a three year sentence. Both have admitted their guilt and will not appeal the verdict.
Czech Olympic champion javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková has advanced to the events final after she threw 66.19 meters in her first qualification attempt on Tuesday. The 31-year-old Czech athlete who won gold at the Beijing Olympics four years ago said her performance left room for improvement in the final. She said her goal was to pass the 70 meter mark. The event’s final is scheduled for Thursday night.
Some 140 Czech Roma, to be evicted over poor technical and sanitary conditions of the buildings in the Přednádraží slum in Ostrava in the north-east of the country, have refused to leaver their homes. The houses are now being reviewed by the authorities; the inhabitants were given until Saturday night to leave. The municipality has offered alternative housing to the Roma who however complain that the accommodation is overpriced. The Czech branch of the human rights watchdog Amnesty International, along with several Czech NGOs, has called on the authorities to immediately find a solution to the problem.
The Czech Republic’s industrial output in June slowed down by 2.2 percent annually, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday, following a decrease of 2.4 percent registered in May. After seasonal adjustment, however, the country’s industrial production rose by 0.3 percent year-on-year. Analysts expect industrial output to keep slowing down in the rest of the year as the Czech economy is going through a protracted period of recession.
In related news, Czech exports in June rose by 5.6 percent annually while imports increased by 0.9 percent, the Czech statistical office said on Monday. In total, the country’s foreign trade in that month registered a surplus of 29 billion crowns. Trade balance with EU countries showed a surplus of 58.9 billion crowns while that with non-EU states registered a deficit of 29.5 billion crowns, 11 billion lower than last June. Analysts say the latest figures signal a slowing down of the Czech economy as higher exports show a drop of domestic demand.
Nearly 190 million crowns, or more than 9.2 millions US dollars, from two EU operational programmes, was between 2007 and 2011 paid in breach of the rules, according to a report by the Czech Supreme Auditing Office released on Monday. The audit found the Jihozápad and Moravskoslesko programmes frequently breached public procurement legislation and lacked sufficient control of the funds, the auditing authority said. In some cases, money was paid for projects that were never completed. Representatives of the two programmes in question said did not agree with the results of the audit.