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German citizenship won’t prevent extradition of ex-senator Novák

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Prague, Feb 7 (CTK) – Alexandr Novak, former Czech Civic Democrat (ODS) senator detained by German police, has German citizenship, which does not prevent his extradition to the Czech Republic based on a European arrest warrant, Czech Justice Ministry spokeswoman Tereza Schejbalova said yesterday.
This has also been confirmed by the German Justice Ministry.
In the Czech Republic, Novak 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.
“We can confirm that Alexandr Novak was arrested in Germany on December 24, 2016. The proceedings on his extradition on the basis of a European arrest warrant, issued by a district court in Usti on December 22, 2016, are underway,” Schejbalova said.
“The law enforcement bodies approach him as a German citizen, the Justice Ministry does not challenge this,” she said.
“The prosecuted man has German citizenship, according to our documents,” Ingo Nohre, spokesman for the High Land Court in Frankfurt, said.
Nohre also told CTK yesterday that the high court had remanded Novak in extradition custody on January 3. Novak is in a detention facility of the Hesse federal state’s judiciary.
Nohre did not say when the court might make a decision on Novak’s extradition.
The Czech-German police centre in Bavaria told CTK on Monday that the German police arrested Novak at the Frankfurt am Main airport on Christmas Eve last year based on a European arrest warrant initiated by Czech judicial bodies.
A court in Frankfurt is supposed to decide on his extradition to the Czech Republic, the centre said.
The public Czech Radio reported that Novak arrived in Frankfurt from Los Angeles.
The German Justice Ministry said that generally, the extradition of German citizens for prosecution abroad is possible under several conditions.
It is crucial to what extent the suspected offence relates to the country that seeks the suspect’s extradition.
The question of whether the offence substantially relates to Germany also plays a role, as does the possibility of the suspect serving his sentence in Germany, the ministry said.
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.
The bribery case dated back to 1999 when Novak occupied the post of mayor of Chomutov, north Bohemia.
The latest accusations target politicians, senior officials and businesspeople from both regions involved.
A major part of the accused are experts who evaluated the projects applying for subsidies and advised the ROP Northwest committee on which projects should be complied with.
The ROP supported 536 projects with a total of 19.4 billion crowns. The suspects caused damage of up to 13.9 billion crowns, according to reliable sources.
Social Democrat (CSSD) senior regional politicians have been accused in the case, including Karlovy Vary regional CSSD organisation head Petr Navratil and former Usti regional governor Jana Vanhova.
The CSSD has been the senior government party since 2013, while the right-wing ODS has been in opposition.
Apart from Novak, other ODS members have been accused in the case, such as businessman Daniel Jezek, the only one in the group to have been taken into custody, regional health care centre director Petr Fiala and former Most mayor Vladimir Bartl, who now heads an Industry and Trade Ministry section.

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