Czech Republic: MP faces trial after corruption immunity lifted
In the Czech Republic, a leading politician has been stripped of his parliamentary immunity by MPs, in one of the country's most high-profile corruption cases.
David Rath, a former health minister, was arrested on 14 May 2012 when he was found carrying a wine box containing several million Czech korunas. The police subsequently found a further 30 million korunas hidden in Rath's home. Rath is alleged to have mismanaged European Union funds, and to have accepted bribes in exchange for awarding public contracts.
Following his arrest, Rath resigned his governorship, but remained an MP, and has been in police custody since his arrest after a judge ruled that he may flee, seek to influence witnesses or continue the alleged criminal activity. In a majority vote of 183 to two, Czech MPs lifted Rath's parliamentary immunity, which means he is now liable for prosecution for corruption and could potentially face a 12 year prison sentence.
Rath's arrest is the most high-profile case in a series of recent arrests, demonstrating a commitment from the Czech government to tackle endemic corruption.