Viktor Kozeny, the man at the centre of one of the biggest privatisation scandals of the 1990s, has been charged with fraud. Police said Mr Kozeny and his former business partner Boris Vostry had avoided all attempts to deliver the charges over the last two years and would be treated as fugitives. Mr Kozeny has Irish citizenship and lives in the Bahamas; Mr Vostry lives in Belize. Viktor Kozeny, former director of Harvard Investment Funds, is accused of defrauding investors of some 11 billion crowns between 1995 and 1997. The money belonged to Czechs who had invested in former state enterprises privatised under the right-wing government of Vaclav Klaus, now the country's president.
Customs officials in north Bohemia seized almost 70 million crowns worth of counterfeit goods in a raid on a Vietnamese market near the German border at the weekend. A spokesperson for the customs office in Usti nad Labem said on Tuesday almost 30,000 garments and footwear bearing fake labels were found in the raid, along with 45,000 pirated compact discs. The foreign police also took part in the operation, deporting two Vietnamese stallholders and fining others for minor residence visa infringements.
The Czech Tourist Authority is launching a campaign to encourage Czechs to holiday in the Czech Republic rather than going abroad. The organisation's director, David Gladis, said on Tuesday that three times more Czechs took their main vacation abroad than at home. Czech celebrities are being enlisted to cycle around the Czech Republic as part of an advertising campaign called "Beautiful Country."
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg confirmed on Tuesday that the Czech state has agreed to pay a Romany family an out of court settlement after a case they took was dealt with too slowly by the Czech courts. The Cervenak family are to receive 900,000 crowns in the settlement. The family took a case in 1993 against the town of Usti nad Labem, after losing their state flat when they briefly moved to Slovakia.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment to the law on the state budget for 2003. The amendment, passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this month, raises the budget deficit to 10.6 billion crowns and both spending and revenues by another 2 billion crowns. The 10.6 billion crowns is the compensation the Czech Republic was ordered to pay the US company CME for failing to protect its investment in the commercial channel TV Nova.
Police said on Tuesday that a bottle found hidden in a walking stick owned by actress Chantal Poullain did not contain drugs. The bottle was found in Ms Poullain's car after she had crashed into another vehicle, seriously injuring two people. Traces of alcohol were found in the actress's blood after the collision. The story has received a great deal of attention in the Czech media.
An elderly man who fell down a well in the Moravian village of Krasice on Monday has been rescued after a 15-hour ordeal. The 72-year-old man was stiff but otherwise well on Tuesday after spending the night at the bottom of the five-metre well shaft. The pensioner fell into the well while trying to clean it and was rescued by members of three different fire departments, who reached him by digging a parallel shaft by hand.
Wednesday should see clear spells in many parts of the Czech Republic, though the north-east of the country is expected to be cloudy with some showers. Temperatures will range from 21 to 25 degrees Celsius.
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