The Prague city police will return equipment worth all together around 7 million crowns to the city hall. The police chief Eduard Šuster said that his men do not need the equipment, which includes hummers, a hovercraft, motorcycles and other items. The town hall will most likely redistribute the machinery and weapons that were purchased a few years ago either to the fire department or to police in other regions. Mr Šuster, who became head of the municipal police only two months ago, promised in February that the police will do more with less.
The anti-corruption police has made a series of arrests on Tuesday and Wednesday on massive tax evasion charges. Nine people around the country have been charged so far, with eight remaining in police custody. According to the police, suspects were involved in tax evasion by issuing phony invoices to each other’s companies, with damages to the state running into tens of millions of crowns. During some 30 home searches, detectives were able to secure 45 million crowns in cash, as well as some property.
A number of major financial institutions in the Czech Republic were attacked by hackers on Wednesday morning. The websites and internet banking sites of the Czech National Bank and large banks like Česká spořitelna, Komerční banka, and ČSOB were down for a number of hours due to the cyber attack. The website of the Prague Stock Exchange has also been affected, while smaller banks like mBank and AirBank were not attacked by hackers. Spokesperson from the Česká spořitelna bank said that customers’ personal data has not been compromised. This comes in the wake of cyber attacks conducted earlier this week against Czech news websites and the search engine Seznam.
The British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons – winner of this year’s Grammy awards – will perform in Prague on Wednesday night. The band’s Czech premiere was originally supposed to take place in Lucerna’s downstairs Music Club, but given the amount of interest the organizers have moved the concert to Lucerna’s main concert and dance hall.
Czech news servers that came under a series of cyber assaults on Monday, which slowed or crashed home pages on the internet, are no closer to learning who the instigator may have been, CTK reports. According to the news agency, Seznam which operates Novinky estimates the attack came from an IP address in Europe, while Economia, which operates the website ihned.cz suggested it came from further afield, in Africa. Among those affected were also idnes.cz and lidovky.cz .No one has yet claimed responsibility. IT experts say the hackers flooded the websites with digital requests overwhelming their systems.
The controversial New Year’s amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus will not come under further scrutiny by the country’s Constitutional Court, the court’s general secretary Ivo Pospíšil confirmed on Tuesday. No official reason was given. The court dismissed a proposal by a group of senators calling for Article 2 of the amnesty to be struck down; the article halts or threatens to halt high-profile corruption and fraud cases that have languished in the courts between eight and 10 years, with potential sentences of up 10 years in prison. Four judges of the court, including chairman Pavel Rychetský, differed in their opinion. Discussed was whether the court could at all revise a presidential amnesty. The court just last month rejected a proposal that the entire amnesty be struck down. The amnesty halted 327 criminal proceedings at the beginning of the year and saw some 6,500 prisoners released.
President Václav Klaus has said he is convinced the complaint against him was not motivated by any actions or actual wrongdoing on his part. Earlier, Mr Klaus had suggested the move to press charges for treason was an attempt by his political opponents to tarnish his presidency. If the Constitutional Court were to find that actions taken by Mr Klaus constituted treason, he would, under normal circumstances, suffer the loss of office. But given that the president steps down this week, such an outcome would be a mere formality. At the same time, some observers have noted that such a ruling could significantly weaken Mr Klaus’ political influence into the future.
The Czech Republic, represented by the Interior Ministry, is to pay one million crowns in damages to the 18-year-old son of a Vietnamese man who died in 2009 following a brutal police raid in Brno. The decision was announced on Tuesday by Brno’s Municipal Court Judge Jan Sedláček. The son as well as the wife of the deceased had sought 50 million crowns in damages each. In his decision, the judge explained that Czech law did not recognise exemplary sentences, which ruled out such significant damages. The judge instead relied on an existing benchmark but raised the sum of 240,000 crowns usually paid out in such cases. He said he had raised the amount given the father’s level of suffering and the fact that his son had lost his father at the age of just 14.
Prague’s Municipal Court acquitted American musician Randy Blythe on Tuesday, with the judge saying the performer had hurt no one intentionally. Mr Blythe, the singer for the hard rock band Lamb of God, was standing trial for manslaughter, after a Czech fan was fatally injured during the band’s Prague concert more than two years ago. The young man had climbed onto the stage, but fell after clashing with Blythe and suffered a head injury that later proved fatal. He died in hospital. In his testimony the singer said he had seen the young man get up and that surrounding fans had signalled he was ‘ok’. Had he been found guilty, Mr Blythe could have faced between 5 -10 years in prison. The prosecution may still appeal Tuesday’s decision.
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