Former IPB officials charged with fraud

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One thing which has consistently challenged the credibility of the Czech authorities is the popular belief that large-scale theft and embezzlement often go unpunished. The Social Democrats came to power after promising a "Clean Hands" anti-corruption drive, which would come down hard on financial crime. Two years into the government's four-year term, the public were still waiting for the results. But just when it all looked pretty hopeless, it seems the authorities have suddenly swung into action. Daniela Lazarova has more.

Mach, the former president of the Sparta Prague football club, was sentenced to five years for tax evasion. And on Wednesday a number of former high ranking managers of the IPB bank, including the bank's former deputy director Libor Prochazka, were charged with defrauding the bank of an estimated 30 million dollars in the late 1990s.

Embezzlement from the Czech Republic's biggest banks are a major public concern, since it has emerged that each taxpayer will have to pay an estimated 40,000 Czech Crowns to help cover the losses. So are the authorities finally going for the big fish? - a question I put earlier to economic analyst Jan Sykora of Wood and Company.