Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman on Wednesday denied reports of a massive debt incurred by his family firm, Agrotrade. The weekly Respekt reported that the firm got hundreds of millions of crowns in credit from banks, and later transferred its assets to another company, leaving Agrotrade some 600 million crowns in the red. However, Mr Toman said he was stationed abroad at that time, and never served on the company’s board. The firm said it would sue the magazine for an apology and damages.
Justice Minister Marie Benešová on Wednesday rejected calls to launch disciplinary proceedings against state attorney Ivo Ištván who is in charge of the Nečas case. Following the Supreme Court’s breakthrough ruling in the case, the former prime minister said proceedings against the state attorney should start immediately. Ms Benešová said she would consult Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman before taking a stand on the issue.
A crop duster plane crashed into a fire pond near Žlunice, in eastern Bohemia, on Wednesday, the local fire brigade said. The pilot, who was rescued from the cabin, suffered serious injuries in the accident and was airlifted to hospital. The accident is under investigation; several witnesses said they heard a loud bang before the crash.
A man in Slavkov, in southern Moravia, faces eight years in prison for collecting endangered insects, a spokeswoman for the country’s environmental inspection agency said on Wednesday. The man allegedly imported over 430 rare beetles and butterflies from Armenia, Greece, China, Solomon Islands, and other countries, or had them sent in from abroad. He also offered some of them for sale, according to the authorities.
The trial of influential businessman Roman Janoušek continues in Prague on Wednesday with the court set to hear more witnesses as well as psychology experts. Mr Janoušek is not attending the second day of the proceedings for health reasons. He faces charges of attempted murder related to a hit-and-run incident from last spring. If convicted, he could spend up to 18 years in jail.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, has said that Mr. Hašek’s conditions merely represent his own opinion and are not the official position of the party. The news website Novinky.cz quoted Mr. Sobotka as saying that the Social Democrats would only decide on a position, if – as expected – a vote on Wednesday on the dissolution of parliament proves unsuccessful. Mr. Hašek is believed to have closer ties to President Miloš Zeman, who appointed the Rusnok government, than Mr. Sobotka does.
Three former Civic Democrat MPs accused of taking bribes are set to be
released and will not face trial. The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that
Petr Tluchoř and Marek Šnajdr were covered by parliamentary immunity at
the time the alleged offence took place. The verdict also relates to the
third former deputy, Ivan Fuksa, who did not petition the court. The
decision of the court, which only examined the issue of the MPs’
parliamentary immunity, cannot be appealed. When the three, who were
opposed to a government tax bill, quit the lower house last year, the move
prevented the fall of Petr Nečas’s cabinet. Soon afterwards they
received lucrative positions at semi-state agencies. While the state
attorney’s office said that amounted to bribery, Mr. Nečas suggested
“I scratch your back, you scratch mine” deals were a regular part of
The ex-deputies were taken into custody a month ago as part of an extensive police operation that also saw the charging of Jana Nagyová, chief aide to then prime minister Nečas, with mediating the alleged bribery and other offences, a situation that led to the fall of his government. The police questioned Mr. Nečas in connection with the matter at the end of last week.
The Czech lyricist and poet Václav Fischer died on Monday at the age of 87. Fischer received state honours for his participation in the resistance during the war, but was punished for that same activity by the Communists following their takeover; he was sent to an army unit that was effectively a prison camp before being forced to work as a labourer. However, he later became known as the author of the lyrics of a great number of popular songs, including hits by the likes of Waldemar Matuška, Eva Pilarová, Hana Zagorová, Jiří Korn and Olympik. He also wrote a number of illustrated poetry books for children.
The acting chairman of the Civic Democrats, Martin Kuba, says he will support Miroslava Němcová becoming the party’s leader for the next election campaign. Mr. Kuba made the comments in an interview for the news website iDnes.cz, adding that the next party congress at which senior positions would be contested was scheduled for after elections likely to take place next May at the latest. The Civic Democrats and the other two parties from the former coalition are pushing for Mrs. Němcová to become prime minister if candidates nominated by the president prove unsuccessful. Mr. Kuba became acting leader following the resignation of Petr Nečas, who was forced to quit as prime minister when his girlfriend was charged with bribery and spying.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
Misha Glenny: Organised crime is an important part of Czech economy – and corruption is its twin sibling