The Social Democratic Party will most probably take out a loan to cover the contractual fine of 337 million crowns it was ordered to pay lawyer Zdeněk Altner, the head of the party’s deputies’ group Roman Sklenak told the ctk news agency. According to the Prague Municipal Court the party must pay the money within three days of receiving the court’s verdict in writing. The dispute related to Altner’s services in another court case over the ownership of Lidový Dum, the party’s long-time headquarters in Prague. Altner won the case and was paid 17 million crowns for his services by the party but later asked for more on the grounds of an agreement that his reward would amount to 10 percent of the value of the property. The 337 million crown contractual fine is the result of interest building up over the past 16 years. The verdict is a blow to the Social Democrats whose annual budget has been around 200 million crowns in the past few years.
A court expert who appeared as a witness in the hit-and-run case of wealthy businessman Roman Janoušek has been charged for allegedly giving the court a grossly distorted report. Janoušek who was sentenced to 4.5 years recently had his jail term rescinded on health grounds after undergoing brain surgery. Janoušek is said to have been one of the most influential businessmen in Prague with links to top politicians and Prague City administration.
A number of civic groups have protested against the restrictions imposed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's two-day visit to the Czech Republic. In an open letter to lawmakers and government officials they asked for “all incidents and limitations of civic rights” to be thoroughly investigated. The visit was accompanied by strict security measures and aggressive behaviour on the part of Chinese nationals in the streets of Prague. Czech protesters said the police invariably detained them, instead of the Chinese aggressors and repeatedly restricted their freedom of movement. The letter was signed among others by philosopher Václav Němec, lawyer and former dissident Hana Marvanová, analyst Petr Havlík and other figures from public life.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has suspended a resettlement program for 150 Christian families from Iraq after 25 them said they no longer wanted asylum in the Czech Republic and expressed the desire to travel to some other EU country. Another group, an eight-member family from Mosul, have decided to return to their homeland because they are homesick and unable to settle in a completely different cultural environment. The NGO Generation 21 which organized the transfer and resettlement of Iraqi families at risk is expected to make a statement.
Trade and Industry Minister Jan Mladek of the Social Democrats has confirmed that he will be running in the autumn elections to a third of the Senate. The minister will be running in the Tabor constituency where in 2010 he was closely beaten by Civic Democrat Senator Pavel Eybert. Mr. Mladek said that if he fails to get elected he would consider resigning from his ministerial post.
The server aktualne.cz wrote on Friday that Zdeněk Altner, the defense lawyer who is to receive 337 million after winning a court case against the Social Democrats, is on the police’s wanted list for avoiding trial for embezzlement. According to the news site Altner is suspected of embezzling 800,000 crowns. He has not responded to notifications from the police or courts. Paradoxically, Alter was present in the courtroom to hear the verdict in his dispute against the Social Democrats on Thursday.
The parties of the ruling coalition have released reports on their financing in 2015. All three are showing a profit. The Social Democrats showed a profit of 27 million, the ANO party ended the year on a profit of 26.9 million crowns, and the Christian Democrats 23 million crowns. The party’s full coffers are attributed to the fact that there were no elections last year and no other significant drain on party finances.
The regional court in Plzen has sent a 23-year-old man to seven years in jail for starving his ailing grandmother to death. The man left his 77-year-old grandmother, who was bedridden, without food for what doctors say must have been at least a month. She was taken to hospital after being found by social workers, starving and severely dehydrated, and weighing less than 30 kilograms. Despite getting immediate attention she died two days later. The electricity supply to the flat had been cut off because of debts and the grandson allegedly spent his grandmother’s entire old age pension on drugs.
In tennis, Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová will both miss out on the upcoming Fed Cup match against Switzerland. The two out of form players have both agreed with team captain Petr Pála not to appear in the games scheduled for April 16 and 17. Kvitová has had a poor start to the season and is still without a coach after breaking her long trainer in January. Šafářová has been sick with a bacterial infection and lost her last three matches.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has called for a strengthening of EU-US ties on his current trip to the United States. Sobotka said that the ties were too often regarded as something given but that is not the case. At a speech at the Brooking Institute in Washington, Sobotka said the proposed trade deal, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should boost the relationship but more needed to be done. On a personal level, EU and US citizens should also be given the opportunity to connect more, he said.