Former Tennis Player Taken into Custody for Financial Frauds

08-01-2001

Shortly after arriving at Prague's Ruzyne airport, businessman and former tennis player Milan Srejber was detained on Saturday night by the police. The Prague Municipal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for Srejber in December last year, placed him on remand on Sunday. Alena Skodova has the story.

Milan SrejberMilan Srejber Entrepreneur Milan Srejber faces charges of tax fraud linked to his firm Srejber Tennis Investing, into which he illegally embezzled more than 13 million Czech Crowns in 1995 and 1996. Mr Srejber's bail has been set at 5 million Czech Crowns. "In addition to posting bail, we'll also require a written promise from Mr Srejber that he will remain available for investigation and will not leave the country," the ruling judge said. Mr Srejber has been placed on remand so that he cannot hinder court proceedings by travelling abroad, which has happened before. But Milan Srejber has also been closely linked with the centre-right Civic Democratic Party - the ODS. In 1995, he donated 7,5 million Czech Crowns to the party, which later on became the subject of a tax evasion case and contributed to the fall of the ODS-dominated coalition government in 1997. ODS representatives claim, however, that this case has nothing to do with their party.

I asked political commentator Jan Culik, how he perceived this link:

Exactly why Mr Srejber returned to the Czech Republic last weekend is a mystery. His trial will open on January 11th, and if found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of up to twelve years.