A Czech judge accused of corruption should not have those charges dropped under a presidential amnesty, according to Prague’s chief prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová, the newspaper Právo reported. Ústi nad Labem bankruptcy judge Jiří Berka was cleared under a section of the amnesty that halts prosecutions in cases running for over eight years for which the maximum term is 10 years. The prosecutor says as Judge Berka’s alleged crime was committed as part of a criminal conspiracy the maximum term would have been increased by one third – making him ineligible for the controversial amnesty announced by President Václav Klaus on New Year’s Day. An official from the Prague chief prosecutor’s office has filed a complaint against the halting of the case.
The largest party in the government, the Civic Democrats, have put forward a list of 10 priorities ahead of talks on revising a coalition agreement with partners TOP 09 and LIDEM. Many of the demands concern ideas to foster growth in the Czech economy. One of the Civic Democrats’ two negotiators, Transport Minister Zbyňek Stanjura, said the party was putting an emphasis on slimming down elements of the civil service and merging different agencies. Representatives of the three parties are expected to meet on Tuesday and Thursday this week.
Police say suspicious orders for IT equipment placed by the state-owned forestry company Lesy České republiky caused the state CZK 350 million in damages. Anti-corruption police on Monday carried out searches related to the case in three places in Prague and Hradec Králové, but no charges have yet been made, a spokesperson said. Lesy České republiky administers 1.3 million hectares of land and owns about half the forests in the country.
The Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Union, has rejected an appeal by the Czech brewer Budějovický Budvar against the use of the trademark Bud by the international beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the maker of Budweiser. In a statement on Tuesday, the EU’s second highest court said Anheuser-Busch InBev NV could register the trademark Bud because of its insignificant use in France and Austria. The decision is the latest development in a legal battle that has been running in several territories for many years.
An Albanian regulator on Monday voted to revoke the distribution license of a loss-making unit of the Czech energy giant CEZ. It is also holding the company liable for failing to import electricity into the Balkan state and not investing in its power grid. CEZ plans to contest the move and will demand compensation in a court of arbitration. The decision is the latest move in a long-running battle between CEZ and Tirana over power imports and prices.
Hotel Praha in Prague 6 is due to be knocked down to make way for luxury apartments, the news website ihned.cz reported. The company that has bought the five-star facility, Maraflex, said the hotel had been constructed in such a grand style under the Communist regime that it was not economically viable to run it today. Its employees have already been let go. The hotel is where the Czech national soccer team usually stay when they are in Prague.
The veteran Czech film director Jiří Menzel has just completed work on his latest film. The picture, which will reach Czech cinemas at the end of May, is named “Donšajni”, which means “Don Giovannis”, and is about a group in a small town putting on a production of the opera. Menzel’s previous credits include the Oscar-winning Closely Observed Trains and I Served the King of England.
Writer Jiří Stránský, one of the creators of the TV series Zdivočelá země (Land Gone Wild), has apologised to star Martin Dejdar, after publicly criticising him for supporting left-wing presidential candidate Miloš Zeman. Mr. Stránský, a former political prisoner, and the director of the series said they would no longer work with Mr. Dejdar on future projects. The actor said he had been stunned by the move. On Monday Mr Stránský retracted the statement, saying it had been written in anger.
The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has again failed to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open, after losing 1-6 6-4 1-6 4-6 to world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia in Melbourne on Tuesday. It was the third time in a row that Berdych was knocked out in the last eight stage of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
The anti-corruption police on Monday conducted a search of the offices of the state-owned forestry enterprise Lesy ČR in Hradec Králové. The move, sources reported, is related to an investigation of a number of non-transparent tenders involving the purchase of IT technology. News site E15 reported earlier that the investigation was related to the fate of 340 million crowns said to have ended up in the hands of non-transparent firms with accounts in Switzerland. According to E15, there is reason to believe that IT contracts worth a total of 1.136 billion crowns had been purposely overvalued. The spokesman for the anti-corruption police, Jaroslav Ibehej, revealed on Monday there had been no arrests; the interim head and economic director of the firm, Michal Gaube, meanwhile, said the forestry enterprise was cooperating fully.
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