A second high-profile Czech businessman returned from aboard this week to face criminal charges. Jiri Syrovatka, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for his alleged role in a tax fraud case, had been in the United States on holiday. A co-defendant in the case, businessman Tomas Pitr, had returned home to the Czech Republic from neighbouring Austria on Thursday. Both men have filed appeals but were considered high risks for flight. Had Syrovatka not returned to the country by this Monday, police would have issued an international arrest warrant.
A former Czech army doctor imprisoned for killing the Nigerian consul in Prague in 2003 will not serve out his sentence. Prague court officials decided on Monday to release Jiri Pasovsky, aged 74, due to his poor health. Pasovsky shot dead the Nigerian consul and wounded another embassy employee, whom he blamed for not helping him after Pasovsky fell victim to a financial scam. He received an eight-year jail sentence in June last year, which was reduced to five years on appeal. Pasovsky's lawyer said he is suffering from cancer and other illnesses.
A Czech delegation left for South Korea on Monday for talks with representatives of the carmaker Hyundai, which is considering investing some 1.2 billion dollars into a new plant in Ostrava. In hopes of finalising a deal, apart from other incentives and tax breaks, the Czech delegation will present the government's plan to improve regional infrastructure and widen a highway reaching the border with Slovakia, where Hyundai has a subsidiary. The carmaker has said it will make a final decision this month.
In related news, the Czech state agency for attracting investment, CzechInvest, said on Monday that it had helped secure 154 foreign and local investment projects worth 3.1 billion dollars last year - a record number of projects. CzechInvest head Tomas Hruda said the new projects would help create some 22,000 new jobs.
The Minister of Labour, Zdenek Skromach, has denied reports in the tabloid media that Czech Airlines (CSA) in any way paid for or subsidised his family holiday in New York over New Year's. Skromach and his family did stay in discount hotel used by the national carrier flight staff. But the labour minister said he had only used Czech Airlines to reserve the rooms and produced receipts to prove that he had paid for the hotel himself. The airline also denied having in any way funded the minister's orivate New York trip.
Fewer people died last year in accidents on Czech roads than at any time since 1989. There were 1,127 traffic fatalities last year a 7.2 percent fall in the number of fatalities compared with the previous year, although there were nearly three thousand more accidents than in 2004.
Clear skies and freezing temperatures is the outlook through the week, with snowfall likely at the weekend.
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