Robert Šlachta, one of the Czech Republic’s most prominent law
enforcement officials for nearly three decades, has resigned from office.
Mr Šlachta headed a specialised police unit combatting organised crime (ÚOOZ) before leading the investigative branch of the General Directorate of Customs for three years.
He resigned as head of that unit in June 2016 in protest at what he described as a politically motivated shake up aimed at curbing his force’s effectiveness by merging it with another anti-corruption one.
A General Directorate of Customs spokesperson said Mr Šlachta has declined to comment on his decision but that it was not linked to his service at the Directorate.
Twenty-four people are now reported to have been charged in a massive tax
evasion scam involving 270 million crowns, according to a spokesperson for
the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime.
The charges against seven foreign nationals and 17 Czechs who operated fictitious companies came following a largescale operation in close to 60 sites across the Czech Republic. All except two of the suspects are currently being held in custody.
The several–month-long operation involved over 400 police and customs officers both at home and abroad. In simultaneous raids on homes and offices the police secured assets worth 68 million crowns and a number of illegally held weapons.
The majority of the methamphetamine seized by the Czech police last year was produced by Vietnamese crime gangs. Indeed, almost 70 percent of the illegal drug impounded last year was Vietnamese- produced. Police say cultural differences and the language barrier make it harder to combat these activities.
A former member of the country’s unit for fighting organized crime, Ludek
Vokal, has been charged in connection with information leaks from the force
during his time in service.
The former detective is suspected of having leaked information from a number of open cases to members of the underworld.
The leaks occurred between 2010 and 2015. The police was severely criticized for the leaks at the time.
The Czech police has arrested 12 foreign citizens and charged them with people smuggling. If convicted, the individuals could face up to 10 years in jail, Jaroslav Ibehej, spokesman for the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime (NCOZ), told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The suspects, all citizens of former Soviet countries, are believed to have belonged to an international group that focused on illegally smuggling migrants from Southeast Asia and providing them with false documents. The police spokesman says the group was destroyed through a combined effort of Czech, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian police.
Thursday is the first anniversary of the shocking murder of Ján Kuciak, a young Slovak journalist who was gunned down with his fiancé. One year on rallies in the couple’s honour are being held in Slovakia and Prague, while a new investigative journalism centre in Bratislava has been named after Kuciak. But have perceptions of reporters changed in this part of the world?
The National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime issued its annual report on Wednesday highlighting potential security risks to the country. It reported a growing number of sham marriages, particularly with citizens of Turkey, and warned of “uncontrolled numbers of people practicing Islam entering the country”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced last week that the Czech consulate in Hanoi has stopped accepting applications from Vietnamese nationals for both long-term resident permits and visas, citing incapacity to handle the backlog of requests – but most of all, security risks, in the form of “exported” organised crime.
Police have cracked down on an organized crime gang peddling drugs in the
Czech Republic and neighbouring Austria.
Over 30 people were detained in a series of raids, of which 13 have been charged and 11 were remanded in custody.
Over the past year the gang sold over 120 kilos of marihuana and at least four kilos of crystal methamphetamine. If convicted those charged could face up to 18 years in prison.