Twenty-four people are now reported to have been charged in a massive tax
evasion scam involving 270 million crowns, according to a spokesperson for
the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime.
The charges against seven foreign nationals and 17 Czechs who operated fictitious companies came following a largescale operation in close to 60 sites across the Czech Republic. All except two of the suspects are currently being held in custody.
The several–month-long operation involved over 400 police and customs officers both at home and abroad. In simultaneous raids on homes and offices the police secured assets worth 68 million crowns and a number of illegally held weapons.
The number of government programs for the employment of foreigners in Czech
companies will be halved as of September 1, the President of the Chamber of
Commerce Vladimír Dlouhý told reporters on Friday. The present six
programs will be reduced to three and the conditions for including workers
and employers in the program will be unified.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will only handle employers' applications for highly qualified employees or researchers, while the Chamber of Commerce will assist companies with all other employee applications.
In the transformed Qualified Employee Program, the Chamber will accept applications from companies for workers from Ukraine, Montenegro, Serbia, the Philippines, India, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Mongolia. The government sets individual annual quotas for each country.
From September the quota for workers from Ukraine will also be gradually increased to 40,000 per year. So far it has been 19,600 people.
The former deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Czech
Republic (ÚZSI) Zdeněk Blahut has been charged with fraud and abuse of
office, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague reported on Friday.
No further details were released.
According to the news site idnes.cz Blahut’s detention is part of an ongoing investigation into the financial management of the Foreign Intelligence Service. The news site claims the police also questioned the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Jiří Šašek and the former interior minister Milan Chovanec, who appointed Blahut to office. Chovanec later dismissed the claim.
The Foreign Intelligence Service’s principal goal is to provide foreign intelligence vital for the security and protection of the Czech Republic’s foreign policy interests and economic interests.
Blahut served as its deputy head from September 2014 until January of this year.
At least five people were killed and over 100 injured in a severe
thunderstorm in the Tatra Mountains on the Slovak-Polish border, local
According to a Slovak mountain rescue team, a Czech national was among the victims. His female companion suffered a leg injury.
Four people, including a child were killed on the Polish side of the mountain range. The Tatra Mountains lie on the Polish border with Slovakia and form a natural divide between the two countries.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with the Social Democratic Party’s
nominee for culture minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, on Thursday evening to
discuss his priorities in office.
The prime minister said later he had no problem with the nomination and had sent an official request to the president regarding his appointment.
President Zeman earlier indicated he also approved of the choice and his spokesman said the appointment would take place on Tuesday.
The nomination has brought to an end a drawn-out crisis which threatened to topple the coalition government.
The Czech Army will acquire US combat and multipurpose helicopters Viper
and Venom. According to Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar, a combination of
two machines is more appropriate than the purchase of only multi-purpose
Black Hawk helicopters. The helicopters should be available in 2023.
The ministry received two offers for the purchase of helicopters from the US government in late June. The US administration offered either 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for 13.2 billion crowns or eight UH-1Y Venom helicopters along with four AH-1Z Viper helicopters worth 14.5 billion crowns. The price includes maintenance and training of personnel.
The bids were assessed by a committee made up of ministry and army representatives. The contract should be signed by the end of the year.
The Environment Ministry is to receive an additional 250 million crowns
from the state budget next year to fight drought, bringing the
ministry's 2020 budget to 16 billion crowns, Environment Minister
Richard Brabec said following talks with Finance Minister Alena Schillerova
on Thursday. The additional funds are to be used for long-term landscape
changes, the construction of artificial water basins, wetland restoration
and support for water saving projects.
On Monday, scientists from the Czech University of Agriculture, who conducted a study into the possible future impacts of drought on the Czech economy, said that the state should spend at least CZK 25 billion annually in order to contain water in the country’s soil.
Poland has acknowledged it was wrong to proceed with changes to the
Bogatyne city plan, which opened the way for the expansion of the Turów
brown coal mine in the close proximity to the Czech border, the Czech
Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
The unilateral move raised protests from both the Czech Environment Ministry and the Liberec region. According to them, the Polish side did not wait for the conclusion of bilateral consultations on changes to the land-use plan and failed to take the Czech Republic’s reservations into account. The Czech Republic called for an extraordinary meeting on the issue last week.
Despite unfinished negotiations with the Czech Republic, Bogatyne earlier approved a change to the zoning plan, which, among other things, allowed the extension of the mine by 14.6 hectares towards the border with the Czech Republic.
The Czech side had requested information on the impact of the change on water resources, agricultural land and other habitats, as well as air and noise pollution on the Czech side of the border.
The Polish Directorate-General for Environmental Protection should deliver the information before Wednesday, August 28, when the Czech and Polish governments are to hold a joint session in Warsaw.
Police are investigating the vandalizing of the statue of Soviet Marshal
Ivan Konev in Prague 6 which was splattered with red paint on the
anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21,
The statue was erected in commemoration of the general’s role in helping to liberate Czechoslovakia from Nazi oppression, however Konev remains a controversial figure since he was also involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
His statue has been spray painted in protest on several occasions in recent years.