Thursday, 14 December 2017

LN: Former ODS senator faces over 13 years in prison for fraud

ČTK |
17 February 2017

Prague/Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, Feb 16 (CTK) - Former Czech Civic Democrat (ODS) senator and ex-mayor Alexander Novak faces more than 13 years in prison in the case of manipulations with European subsidies, Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Thursday, referring to the European warrant for his arrest.

Novak, who has German citizenship, is among the 24 people accused in the case of an extensive misuse of EU money within the Czech Regional Operational Programme (ROP) Northwest distributing EU subsidies in the Usti and Karlovy Vary northwestern regions. He was arrested in Germany on December 24, 2016 on the basis of a European arrest warrant. He has been in extradition custody in Germany since January 3.

LN writes that the police want to prosecute Novak on suspicion of six crimes, the most serious of which are harming the EU's financial interests, participation in an organised criminal group and masterminding bribery.

Detectives have put the damage caused in the ROP Northwest case at almost 14 billion crowns. They consider Novak and businessman Daniel Jezek, who has been in custody since last December, the key players in the manipulations with EU subsidies.

Novak has rejected a simplified proceedings on his extradition to the Czech Republic. Consequently, the High Land Court in Frankfurt am Main will have to decide on him.

Novak's German citizenship does not prevent his extradition to the Czech Republic, the Czech Justice Ministry has said.

Politicians, senior officials and businesspeople from both regions are accused in the case. They include Social Democrat (CSSD) senior regional politicians, such as Karlovy Vary regional CSSD organisation head Petr Navratil and former Usti regional governor Jana Vanhova. As far as ODS members are concerned, apart from Novak and Jezek, former Most mayor Vladimir Bartl is accused in the case.

In the past, Novak was sentenced to four years in prison for having taken a 40-million-crown bribe. He was released in 2015 after serving a half the sentence.

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