The police have concluded an investigation into a case of alleged
corruption involving the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš
and members of his family are facing prosecution on suspicion of wrongfully
acquiring CZK 50 million in European Union funds in connection with
Stork’s Nest, a conference centre and hotel near Prague.
A spokesperson for the Prague state attorney’s office said an investigation into one individual had been separated from the rest of the case. Media outlets have reported that this likely refers to Andrej Babiš Jr., who previously said in an interview that he was taken out of the country against his will at a time when the spotlight was on the prime minister over the affair.
The news site Neovlivni.cz reported that the police would recommend that Mr. Babiš be summonsed to appear in court in person over the matter. The billionaire leader of the ANO party denies any wrongdoing and says the whole affair is part of a political campaign against him.
The Regional Court in Brno has sentenced Radim Žondra to eight years in
jail for a brutal knife attack on the Czech tennis star Petra Kvitová. The
33-year-old was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and unlawful entry
over the incident, which occurred at Kvitová’s home in December 2016.
Presiding judge Dagmar Bordovská said that the two-time Wimbledon winner’s testimony had proven crucial in the case. Earlier in the trial Kvitová had told the court that Žondra, who claimed to be a boiler inspector, had held a knife to her throat. When the 29-year-old grabbed the weapon, the blade cut into her left hand, leaving her with career-threatening injuries that required major surgery.
Kvitová, who fell in the world rankings in the wake of the attack, is currently taking part in the Miami Open, where she is in with a chance of becoming women’s number one for the first time in her career.
The Czech singer and dancer Daniel Nekonečný has died at the age of 52.
The flamboyant showman was found dead at his home in the Prague district of
Řeporyje, the site Blesk.cz reported. Police are investigating the cause.
Nekonečný, whose real name was Konečný, was a member of the band Laura a její tygři and later formed his own outfit Šum svistu before going solo. He also acted in films and TV series.
The prominent Czech-American Fred Malek has died at the age of 82. The
Washington-based American Friends of the Czech Republic, of which he was
chairman, said in a statement that he had passed away on Sunday.
The Illinois-born Mr. Malek was one of the most successful US businessmen of Czech origin, having been president of Marriott Hotels and Northwest Airlines. He also served as an advisor to four American presidents and was a noted philanthropist.
The trial of a Czech soldier on terrorism charges for joining pro-Russian
separatists fighting in Ukraine began at the Regional Court in Pardubice on
Tuesday. Erik Eštu testified that he had been in Ukraine to get to know
his wife’s country of origin better. He said he had had his photograph
taken in a separatist forces uniform and carrying a gun as a souvenir.
He is accused of guarding a trench at the front, carrying out weapons maintenance and guarding the entrance to the living quarters of members of the Republican Guard, one of a number of separatist groups taking part in the war in Donbass.
The soldier denied visiting the front, saying local patrols had prevented him a friend from doing so. The incidents in question took place in 2015, before Mr. Eštu joined the Czech Army, where he is now serving in an airborne battalion.
Karolína Plíšková and Markéta Vondroušová have reached the
quarter-finals of tennis’s Miami Open and will now face each other. The
fifth-seeded Plíšková overcame Yulia Putsineva of Kazakhstan on Monday,
while Vondroušová beat Tatjana Maria of Germany.
The Czechs’ compatriot Petra Kvitová is also in the last eight in Miami, where Ashleigh Barty of the US stands between her and a first appearance in the tournament's semi-finals.
Officers from the police’s national organised crime unit carried out
raids in a number of the places in the Czech Republic on Tuesday morning.
Czech Television reported that they also planned to search law offices.
Early this month organised crime specialists raided the Prague offices of Austrian company Kapsch, the Office for the Protection of Competition in Brno, a Brno district town hall and the home of ANO deputy leader Jaroslav Faltýnek.
Kapsch CEO Karel Feix, the head of the anti-monopoly office, Petr Rafaj, and several others are suspected of trying to manipulate a tender to operate an electronic motorway toll system in the Czech Republic.
Prague City Hall has agreed to a request from Zdena Mašín to exhume her
mother’s remains from a mass grave in Prague’s Ďáblice cemetary.
The city hall earlier ruled out the possibility in view of the complications of exhuming remains from a mass grave. The respective documents which might have helped locate her remains were lost in a fire.
Zdena Mašín, sister of the Mašín brothers, who dramatically escaped from Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s, requested the exhumation so as to be able to give her mother a dignified burial.
Her mother, Zdena Mašínová, was a freedom fighter jailed by the Nazis and later by the Communists. She was convicted of espionage and treason in a communist show trial and later moved from jail to a labour camp where she died in 1956.
President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met for talks at
Lány chateau on Monday evening, within the framework of their regular
monthly consultations on matters of state.
The prime minister said they had discussed state finances in connection with next year’s budget, issues relating to Brexit and the police investigation into suspected corruption involving the anti-trust office and the firm Kapsch. Police suspect the head of the anti-trust office Petr Rafaj of corruption and there have been calls for his dismissal.
The president said earlier he would wait for the outcome of the police investigation before taking a stand, while the prime minister said he would summon Petr Rafaj to the Office of the Government for an explanation.
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