Czech culture minister resigns - regional minister might follow

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday January 24, 2007

Prague- Only two weeks after taking up office Czech Culture Minister Helena Trestikova has resigned, media reports said Wednesday. Reason for her decision was political pressure from the circle of prime minister Mirek Topolanek to name a controversial functionary as her deputy, the 57-year-old renowned film director said.

Also the Czech Republic's new Minister for Regional Development, Jiri Cunek, might soon be forced to leave office: on Wednesday a parliamentary committee suggested to lift his immunity because the 47-year-old Christian Democrat had been unable to explain the origin of 17,750 euros in his bank account.

The public prosecution service suspected corruption, media reports said.

Also on Wednesday, the former Czech Minister for Information Technology, Vladimir Mlynar, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for serious abuse of office - only two years after leaving office.

A court in Prague found the 31-year-old and two other defendants guilty of fraud involving high sums in the foundation of an internet portal.

Among those sentenced is a former director of CT Czech public service television. Mlynar, a former journalist, was considered a shooting star of Czech politics in the late 1990s.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency