The case against three managers of the fraudulent construction firm H-system will not be reopened. The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the broad amnesty announced by then president Václav Klaus at the start of 2013 applies to the case, rejecting an appeal by the prosecution. The H-system construction firm promised people affordable housing but instead stripped them of nearly one billion crowns. The case was halted under the amnesty since it lasted more than eight years. Paradoxically, this was due to an appeal by the state prosecutor who was unhappy with the suspended sentences handed to the three managers by a lower-level court.
Two-thirds of respondents in a poll conducted by the STEM agency said they trusted Olomouc state attorney Ivo Ištvan, overseeing a highly-publicised case which led to the resignation of the former prime minister and the fall of the centre-right government in June. Only 38 percent, however, expressed confidence that any of those charged in the spying and corruption scandal would be found guilty. The wife of former prime minister Petr Nečas, Jana Nečasová (formerly Nagyová, who was the then prime minister's chief-of-staff), is one of those charged, along with Roman Boček, an ex-deputy to a former MP; charges against three former MPs suspected of corruption were halted earlier by the Supreme Court.
The police will not renew charges against former industry and trade minister Martin Kocourek, or his mother, who had been suspected of having tried to keep the politician’s wife in the dark about 16 million crowns in his keeping during their divorce. The decision to shelve the case is not final yet; the case will still be reviewed by the state attorney, police spokesman Zdeněk Chalupa said. Investigators from the anti-corruption unit were originally interested in learning more about the funds to uncover whether they stemmed from illegal activity.
The country’s Defence Ministry is selling off computers, receivers, as well as spare parts for tanks and armoured vehicles, according to the Czech News Agency. The head of the section overseeing sales, Josef Lachman, confirmed that items were being sold “as is” – some used, broken or damaged. Potential buyers can view items before putting money down. Some 130 tank motors are also on offer, along with monitors and other electronic items. Also being sold is property worth an estimated 162 million crowns.
Customs officers stopped a motorist travelling with her two-month-old baby in Cheb and found three-quarters of a kilogram of the Czech drug pervetin on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Customs Bureau revealed. Suspicious behaviour on the mother’s part prompted officers to search the vehicle with a sniffer dog. The drug was found in a bag hidden among a pack of diapers. The street value has been estimated at around 750,000 crowns. Customs officers have passed the case on to the criminal police.
Legendary Czech footballer Josef “Pepi” Bican, who died in 2001, has been named to the Czech F.A.’s Hall of Fame. The striker, who played for Slavia Prague, was inducted on the date of what would have been his 100th birthday. Originally, Bican’s name was to have been added in 2012, but the move was originally blocked by his son, on the grounds that persecution of his father by the former communist regime had not been acknowledged by the football association. The association’s head, Miroslav Pelta, addressed the past and apologised earlier this year.
Philadelphia Flyers hockey forward Jakub Voráček left his club’s pre-season game against the New Jersey Devils after suffering injury on a play in the second period. Voráček was hooked on a breakaway and hit the net. He was awarded a penalty shot but couldn’t stuff the puck past Corey Schneider. He left for the showers soon after. The club’s manager confirmed later that the upper-body injury was not serious.
President Miloš Zeman has urged the OKD mining company to keep the unprofitable Paskov mine in operation until 2016. Following talks with company representatives, who earlier ruled out the possibility of keeping the mine operational without state support, Mr. Zeman said the company’s owners should use their financial reserves to reduce the social impact of the closure. He suggested that the sale of the 44,000 flats which business tycoon Zdenek Bakala acquired when he gained control of OKD in 2004 could be used to finance the mine’s operation until 2016. Mr. Bakala has come under widespread criticism for holding onto the flats and failing to deliver on his promise to sell them to their residents. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok who took part in the talks, said the government was working hard to attract a big investor to the Ostrava region in the hope of creating more jobs when the mine’s closure would expand the ranks of the unemployed.
The Czech Republic has started operating an emergency help line for missing children. The helpline, which is already in operation in 22 EU member states, offers advice and emotional support to the parents of a missing child as well as to children themselves. Helpline staff will also cooperate with the police in order to assist investigations. Last year the police searched for over 5,500 missing children and were successful in 98 percent of cases. The launch of the helpline coincides with a two-day international conference on missing children in Solenice, central Bohemia.
Chechen national Ali Acajev will not be extradited to Russia where he is wanted on suspicion of contract murder. The Czech Constitutional Court on Tuesday overturned a 2009 ruling by the Supreme Court which opened the way for his extradition. Acajev’s lawyer argues that his client would not get a fair trial in Russia in view of the fact that between 1994 and 1996 he fought for Chechnya’s independence in the war against Russia.
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