Seven individuals and two companies are facing charges of money laundering
and illegal tax cuts worth more than CZK 131 million, a police press
release announced on Wednesday. The charges were brought following a series
of raids by the special “Tax Kobra” unit of the Czech police, which
started in late October. Defendants could face up to 10 years in prison if
According to the police, crimes were committed by issuing fictitious or purposefully overstated invoices from 2013 to 2018. A system of purpose-built chains of companies was used in committing the crimes. So-called “white horses”, individuals set up to commit a criminal offense and cover the actual perpetrator, were apparently put into the statutory bodies of companies that continued to be run by the defendants.
The Australian mining company European Metals Holdings (EMH) Limited has
reached a conditional agreement with the Czech energy company ČEZ Group
regarding a strategic partnership as well as large investment into a
lithium mining project around Cínovec in the North West of the country,
the Czech News Agency reports quoting a Wednesday statement by EMH. If the
agreement passes a due diligence check and is approved by shareholders it
will mean that ČEZ will pay EUR 34.06 million to receive a 51 percent
share in Geodet, a subsidiary of EMH, which possesses the rights to mine in
Lithium, a key component of electric car batteries, is sometimes referred to as the “metal of the future”. The Czech Republic is estimated to possess 3 percent of the world’s lithium reserves and the deposit around Cínovec is the largest in Europe.
The question of who owned the country’s lithium reserves was one of the key issues in the last general election in the Czech Republic. The Czech government is the majority owner of ČEZ.
A distinctive wooden lookout tower in the Prague district of Kyje was damaged by fire on Wednesday morning, the city’s fire service said. Fire officers were able to quickly extinguish a fire on the lower part of one of three legs supporting the Doubravka tower. It was designed by architect Martin Rajniš, who is known for his wooden structures.
The police have asked the Prague authorities to activate a facial
recognition function on security cameras at six locations in the city as
part of a pilot project, the news site iRozhlas reported. This would allow
the police to automatically monitor and record the movement of people
caught on those cameras.
Prague City Hall will now consult the matter with the Office for the Protection of Personal Data. It previously refused to allow facial recognition technology to be used to track suspected football hooligans.
Marek Výborný is to resign as chairman of the opposition Christian
Democrats, he announced on Tuesday. The party will hold an extraordinary
congress in late January to find a new leader. Mr Výborný, who has been
in the post less than a year, suffered a personal tragedy in late September
when his wife died suddenly.
He has three young children and told journalists that being a parent was more important than being a politician.
Czech farmers say that sales of eight major agricultural commodities should
rise by almost CZK 2 billion this year to reach over CZK 90 billion. More
cereals and potatoes have been harvested this year but the rape crop was
down on 2018.
The Agricultural Association of the Czech Republic said the overall sales figure for this year should be above the average recorded since the year 2000.
Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová has parted company with her coach,
David Kotyza, after two years. The 2019 season was the most successful of
the 33-year-old’s career as she won the doubles title at Wimbledon and
also reached the semi-finals in singles at the All England Club. She is
currently world women’s doubles number one.
Strýcová announced the split from Kotyza on Instagram on Tuesday after defeat in the doubles final at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
Eight people were injured on Tuesday when there was an explosion at a waste
disposal facility at a Hamr na Jezeře in the north of the Czech Republic.
Two of those injured are in a critical condition. Around 10 rescue workers
also need to be examined after coming into contact with an unknown
substance, a spokesperson for the rescue services in Liberec said.
The mayor of Hamr na Jezeře said it appeared that sulphuric acid has leaked into the atmosphere.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, visited Ukraine on Tuesday. After
attending the launch of a Czech-Ukrainian enterprise forum, Mr. Babiš held
talks with the country’s prime minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk. Following
both engagements in Kiev he reiterated the Czech Republic’s support for
the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Mr. Babiš later told Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that the Czech Republic condemned Russian aggression in the east of the country and Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The Czech leader also invited Mr. Zelensky to a meeting of the Visegrad Four in Prague.
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