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Police arrest Iranian trader shortly after release on bail

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Brno, Feb 1 (CTK) – The Czech police arrested Iranian businessman Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, based on an international arrest warrant issued by Iran, shortly after his release from pre-trial detention on a 150-million-crown bail in Brno on Monday, the regional police spokeswoman Petra Ledabylova has told CTK without elaborating.

Zadeh has been facing tax evasion and organised crime charges in the Czech Republic and his trial is to start in March. He has spent 22 months in detention so far and he may be punished with up to 13 years in prison.

According to the charges, Zadeh was the chief organiser of a 2.5 billion-crown tax fraud linked to the imports of fuels from Slovenia and Germany. They submitted false tax returns. At least 65 business companies allegedly assisted in the criminal activities.

State attorney Ales Sosik, who charged Zadeh and his 14 accomplices in the fuel fraud case, said Zadeh’s immediate arrest after the release on bail surprised him. “This is new information for me,” Sosik said.

Journalists waited outside the Brno-Bohunice prison for several hours for Zadeh on Monday. Zadeh’s lawyer Pavel Capcuch told them after 15:00 that his client was released and that the prison service drove him to the centre of the city for security reasons and released him there.

But Zadeh was arrested again immediatedly after his release, according to CTK’s information.

The Brno Regional Court announced on Monday that Zadeh would be released within a few hours as it accepted the bail of 150 million crowns set for him. This has been the highest bail a Czech court ever received.

Until now, the highest bail was set at 20 million in 2002, for football official and businessman Jan Gottvald suspected of financial crime causing damage of 400 million crowns.

Originally, the Brno Regional Court set the bail at 100 million crowns. The High Court in Olomouc, north Moravia, cancelled the verdict and assigned the Brno court to reappraise Zadeh’s application for release from prison.

Recently, the Brno Regional Court raised the bail, which Zadeh paid to its account in late January.

Zadeh claims innocent and he filed several complaints against his detention.

The Czech police seized property worth about 100 million crowns during the arrests of Zadeh and his accomplices in March 2014. Zadeh was charged on March 18, 2015. The trial was to start last November, but its beginning was repeatedly adjourned because defence lawyers said they were unable to come to the court for various reasons.

In 2014, Czech courts repeatedly decided that Zadeh should stay in custody. They also did not accept an offered bail of 80 million crowns.

In 2010, Zadeh was nearly arrested in Dubai, but he succeeded in obtaining a Czech passport thanks to a hasty marriage with a Czech woman at the embassy in Abu Dhabi and he flew to Prague immediately, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote in 2014.

Media wrote that two Czech prime ministers, Jan Fischer (2009-10) and Jiri Rusnok (2013-14), had pleaded for Zadeh in the United Arab Emirates, where he was prosecuted for embezzlement.

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