President Zeman’s nomination of Karel Srp to a board overseeing the country’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes hit a hurdle on Tuesday. Srp, a former dissident who headed the so-called Jazz Section in communist Czechoslovakia, was rejected by the Senate’s Commission on Election. It stressed that the nominee had been a member of Czechoslovakia’s communist party, which was disqualifying.
The Prague Regional Court will begin a second trial of former top politician David Rath in October, Czech Television reported on Tuesday, quoting the court’s website. The same institution found Mr. Rath guilty of bribe-taking two years ago but he was freed by an appeals court, which ruled that wiretaps used to prosecute the one-time Social Democrat health minister and regional governor were inadmissible. Since then the Supreme Court has ruled such recordings can be used as evidence. Mr. Rath was originally sentenced to eight and a half years for allegedly taking kick-backs to rig public contracts.
Last week, a coalition pact between the Christian Democrats and Mayors and Independents parties appeared on the brink of collapse after the Christian Democrats invited their coalition partners to run on the Christian Democrat ballot in the autumn elections. But on Tuesday, the smaller party instead voted to go-it-alone.
Prague’s Supreme Court has handed a five-year jail term to Marek Dalík, who was found guilty of attempting to solicit a bribe in connection with a military hardware contract while he was an advisor to then prime minister Mirek Topolanek. Mr. Dalík was previously sentenced to four years for the same offence but was freed earlier this year over formal shortcomings in the original trial. His latest conviction came despite a change in his testimony. He was accused of seeking a bribe of CZK 50,000,000 from the company Steyr in 2007 to smooth a deal to buy armoured carriers for the Czech Army.
The police have charged MPs Josef Novotný of the Social Democrats and Jaroslav Borek of the Communist Party with the abuse of European Union subsidies. The move comes a month after the Chamber of Deputies voted to lift their parliamentary immunity in connection with the case, which centres on a regional fund in northwest Bohemia. Two dozen others, including former senator Alexandr Novák and former regional governor Jana Vaňhová, are also facing trial. Several people have already been convicted over the matter.
A trial centred on the alleged offering of bribes to politicians begins at the Prague 1 district court on Thursday. Petr Nečas, his now wife and former senior assistant Jana Nečasová and ex-deputy agriculture minister Roman Boček are accused of offering “jobs for the boys” to three then Civic Democrat MPs in exchange for their support of legislation in 2012, when Mr. Nečas was party leader and prime minister. The case helped lead to the fall of Mr. Nečas’s government the following year. Civic Democrats Marek Šnajdr, Ivan Fuksa and Petr Tluchoř resigned as MPs shortly after opposing their party on a crucial vote, allowing the government to survive. Two of them received lucrative posts at state companies soon afterwards.
The Czech Republic should step up its efforts to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery, according to a new OECD report released on Thursday. The report, which evaluates the country’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Politician in International Business Transactions, says Prague must improve its system combating foreign bribery, especially in view of the country’s export-oriented economy. Seventeen years after ratifying the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the Czech Republic has yet to prosecute a case involving the bribery of foreign public officials.
President Miloš Zeman has appointed Stanislav Štech as Czech minister of education, youth and sports. Mr. Štech, who is 62, is a Charles University psychology professor and a former deputy minister of education. He replaces the Social Democratic Party’s Kateřina Valachová, who announced her resignation after one of her deputies was charged with large-scale corruption involving sports subsidies.
The Czech Republic will set up a consulate in Manchester in order to improve services for the public and handle a growing number of requests for Czech citizenship in the wake of Brexit, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told journalists on Wednesday. The proposal has been approved by the government and the consulate should begin operating at the start of next year. There are presently some 100,000 Czechs living in Great Britain and approximately 300,000 Czechs visit the country every year. At present consular services are only provided by the Czech Embassy in London.
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