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Prague High Court judge arrested over suspected corruption

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Prague, March 13 (CTK) – The Czech police arrested Prague High Court judge Ivan Elischer on Tuesday and accused him of abuse of power, bribe taking and favouritism, the court’s chairman Jaroslav Bures told journalists.

Bures said he was not told why exactly Elischer was accused. Elischer focused on serious drug crimes at the Prague High Court, which he has been working since joined in 2013.

According to the public Czech Radio (CRo), Elischer accepted a bribe from a Vietnamese group which was tried over suspected drug crimes. Wiretappings by the Czech Anti-Drug Centre revealed this, CRo reported.

Daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes on its website that Elischer was allegedly promised a bribe of one million crowns for influencing a trial and that five Vietnamese have been accused of corruption along with him.

The police monitored Elischer from last August. Though some of the Vietnamese were sentenced to prison for eight years, their relatives gave 3.1 million crowns to a Vietnamese man who operated as a connection between them and the judge. This man gave part of the money to Elischer in the evening of October 31, 2017, which was the day on which issued the verdict, according to MfD.

The members of the Prague Municipal State Attorney’s Office who supervise the case asked Justice Minister Robert Pelikan to suspend Elischer.

The police’s organised crime squad NCOZ deals with Elischer’s case.

NCOZ spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej confirmed that Elischer was arrested on Tuesday. He said the police would not provide any further information on the case on Tuesday.

Within 48 hours after his arrest this morning, Elischer either must be released or a proposal for his remanding into custody must be submitted.

Under the law on courts, judges can be prosecuted and arrested for something they did in connection with their work only if the president agrees with it. Presidential Office spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK that Milos Zeman gave consent to Elischer’s prosecution.

The body that launches the prosecution of the judge must convey this information to the Justice Ministry and the head of the court of which the prosecuted judge is a member.

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