Regional development EU Structural Funds projects frozen for time-being

Reacting to Tuesday's arrest of three men suspected of corruption and illegally siphoning monies from European Structural Funds projects, the Minister for Regional Development, Petr Gandalovic, has temporarily suspended all projects that fall under the category of the Joint Regional Operation Program (SROP). The announcement came Wednesday afternoon, and Mr. Gandalovic told reporters that the ministry wants to conduct an audit on all projects which started in December 2004 or later, and that this should happen as quickly as possible.

On Tuesday the unit investigating organized crime in the Czech Republic arrested Zdenek Dolezel, Ladislav Peta and Miloslav Rehulka on suspicion of illegal practices concerning EU Structural Funds. The Social Democratic ex-minister for regional development, Radek Martinek, told the press that there are additional cases of suspected fraud. The Social Democratic leadership has distanced itself from the affair, saying it's a question of individuals failing, and has no reflection on the party.