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PM Sobotka called as witness in connection with alleged undervaluation of OKD

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has been called as a witness in a criminal case linked to the privatisation of the OKD mining company. Mr. Sobotka was minister of finance when OKD was sold off in 2004. The state prosecutor says the CZK 4.1 billion received by the Czech state from buyers Karbon Invest was less than half the real value of the mining firm. Two months after the sale Karbon Invest sold OKD to magnate Zdeněk Bakala’s RPG Industries for a price reported at between CZK 9 billion and CZK 12 billion. The expert who assessed the value of the state’s share in the company and two former senior people at the state agency that oversaw the sale are on trial for misconduct. The prime minister is due to appear in court on September 1.

Sobotka: V4 backed improved relations with Israel in talks with Netanyahu

The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says he and the leaders of the other three Visegrad states supported the improvement and deepening of relations between the European Union and Israel at a meeting with their Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Budapest on Wednesday. Mr. Sobotka tweeted that the EU and Israel were connected by historical ties, democratic values and economic interests. The Czech leader also said that he had backed cooperation with Israel in the fields of security, cyber-security, innovation, science and research during the meeting in the Hungarian capital.

Crown at highest level against euro since start of interventions in 2013

The Czech crown on Wednesday reached its highest level against the euro since November 2013, when the Czech National Bank launched a currency intervention policy aimed at keeping the crown weak. According to Patria Finance, the crown stood at 26.02 to the euro on Wednesday morning. Under the central bank’s weak crown policy – which came to an end in April – the exchange rate hovered around the 27 to the euro mark.

Christian Democrats abandon idea of coalition with Mayors group

The Christian Democrats have dropped a plan to run as a coalition with the Mayors and Independents group in October’s general elections. Instead they would like representatives of the Mayors to run on the Christian Democrats’ candidates lists, chairman Pavel Bělobrádek said after a meeting of senior party leaders on Tuesday evening. The Mayors are due to respond to the Christian Democrats’ proposal next week but leader Petr Gazdík says he still believes in a coalition. The two groupings, who struck a deal in April, would need to achieve double the electoral threshold – meaning 10 percent in total – to make it into the Chamber of Deputies if they ran in unison.

2017 Colours of Ostrava music festival gets underway

One of the biggest events of its kind in the Czech Republic, the Colours of Ostrava music festival gets underway in the north Moravian city on Wednesday. The four-day event will this year be headlined by such artists as Norah Jones, Jamiriquai and Midnight Oil. The festival, which first took place in 2002, is held at a former industrial site in Ostrava’s Vítkovice district.

Schick transfer to Juventus falls through

The planned transfer of Czech international footballer Patrik Schick from Sampdoria to Juventus for a reported EUR 30 million will not in the end take place after the clubs announced on Tuesday that they had been unable to reach agreement. It was announced over a month ago that Schick had signed for Juventus in a deal that would have made him the second most expensive Czech player ever. However, the Italian champions’ doctors were reportedly dissatisfied with the results of initial medical tests on the 21-year-old.

Weather forecast

It should be sunny with the chance of storms in the Czech Republic on Thursday, with temperatures reaching up to 32 degrees Celsius. The weather should be similar in the following days, though daytime highs will be lower.