Transparency International have called on the minister of labour and social affairs, František Koníček, to explain his ties to a company based in a tax haven. Mr. Koníček previously headed the state forestry agency Lesy ČR. The corruption watchdog said that while he was no longer active in the Cyprus-based Equity Brokers, his wife and daughter remained on its supervisory board; Transparency International said it owned several other firms that had won public tenders or drawn on EU funds in the Czech Republic. Mr. Koníček, who is standing for President Zeman’s party in elections later this month, said all the companies he was involved with in this country acted legally. Transparency also said that former MP Petr Benda and ODS regional leader Pavel Dlouhý had ties to offshore firms. The organisation said that such companies had won public tenders worth over CZK 150 billion in the Czech Republic in the last five years.
The number of Czech companies registered in tax havens has been steadily increasing during the past decade. Only in the last five years, offshore companies won public tenders in this country worth more than 150 billion crowns, according to analysis by the advocacy group Transparency International and the consulting company Bisnode. On Tuesday, they presented their findings about the links between offshore companies, public tenders and Czech politicians.
Arcelor Mittal Ostrava is to invest one billion crowns into the modernization of its steelworks. The investment should increase the quality of its products, expand the steelworks production capacity and boost its competitiveness. According to the company’s general director Tapas Rajderkara Mittal wants to increase its exports outside of the European Union. Together with its daughter companies Arcelor Mittal employs 7500 people.
The Czech Association of Scouts and Guides has complained about a commercial campaign by the mobile phone operator T Mobile. In the series of video commercials launched in July, the firm pokes fun at the scouting movement whose members are presented as impractical and dull fools running around in the forest with phones and tablets, the association said. The operator has denied the claims, and said they had offered to sponsor the organization. However, the scout association said the firm never delivered on its promise.
A memorandum, released by the advocacy group Amnesty International last week, calls on the Czech Foreign Ministry to improve the process of approving arms deals for local weapons producers. The analysis says that more than 38% of the total weapons exports in 2012 went to countries where human rights are not respected and where the political systems are barely democratic. This, the organization claims, hurts the positive image of the Czech Republic abroad and contributes to atrocities and violence perpetrated in certain countries. RP spoke to Andor
More than a third of all the weapons exports from the Czech Republic last year went to countries which gravely violate human rights, according to a report released by the Czech branch of the advocacy group Amnesty International (AI). The study shows that of the 6.8 billion crown total arms exports, 38.6 percent were sold to countries without a democratically controled of the military, independent courts or police force and with authoritarian style of government. AI included countries such as Yemen, Egypt and Algeria on that list. The percentage of weapons exports to such countries increased by more than 4 percentage points since 2011.
The European Commission has approved a major dust control project for two steelworks in northern Moravia, a spokeswoman for the commission said. Two projects worth some 1.2 billion crowns should lower the volume of dust emitted by Třinecké železárny and the Ostrava plant of ArcelorMittal by around 230 tonnes each year, significantly reducing air pollution in the area. Třinecké železárny is planning to start work on dust reduction immediately. A spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal said dust filters should be installed in 2016.
The Czech Republic’s state agencies CzechTrade and CzechInvest are opening new trade missions in Buenos Aires, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Casablanca and Beijing in the coming days, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Trade said. Before the end of the year, new missions will also open in Turkey, India and Indonesia. In 2014, some five or six trade missions will be established in Africa and Asia. The ministry plans to spend around 200 million crowns on Czech trade missions abroad whose number should increase to between 60 and 70, the spokesman said. The ministry eventually plans to merge the two agencies into one body to support Czech foreign trade and attract investors to the Czech Republic.
According to the 2013 Global Competitiveness report compiled by the World Economic Forum the Czech Republic has suffered the worst slide since monitoring began. In the past year it dropped seven rungs down the ladder to 46th place. Former finance minister, now rector of the College of Banking in Prague, Pavel Mertlík explains what caused the slump.
The Jan Becher liquor company has posted a 171 million crown pre-tax profit in the financial year 2012-2013, which amounts to an 80 million crown loss year-on-year. The company ascribes the drop to the brief period of prohibition in late 2012 enforced in connection with the methanol crisis and the drop in liquor sales in the following months. Becherovka sales suffered not only in the Czech Republic, but in Slovakia, Russia, Germany, Hungary and Ukraine. The appearance of deadly methanol-laced bootleg liquor on the market caused a nation-wide scare, claiming 47 lives. The sale of all spirits plummeted in the wake of the scandal.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague