Police: four of eight arrested wanted to defraud state of 200 million in taxes


Criminal police have said that four of eight members of a gang arrested last Thursday for suspected involvement in the ‘methanol affair’, wanted to defraud the state of some 200 million crowns in unpaid taxes. According to the head of the anti-organised crime unit, Robert Šlachta, the police – in its sweep of arrests last week – impacted the top echelon of a gang involved in the sale of bootleg liquor in the Czech Republic. Among those arrested last week are businessman Radek Březina, said by the media to have ties to the Drak liquor company, and Robert Sedlařík, the head of the Verdana distribution firm. A court at the weekend ordered that they and two others be remanded in custody.

Earlier, a warehouse owned by Verdana, was found to contain bottles of liquor laced with 50 percent methanol. Methanol poisoning, beginning in mid-September, claimed 30 lives in the Czech Republic. The bottles were supposedly tainted to increase product volume and profits.