Criminals Acquitted, Electoral Plans Changed

While Covid-19 takes all the headlines, deals are made and laws are passed, with hardly anyone noticing. Many will change our lives for years or forever. UnderCovid keeps track of these stories. Daily.
 
7 April 2020
 
Czechia
Prague Police wants to indict Petr Necas, a former Prime Minister in the Czech government. He is suspected of false testimony. Necas testified in a case of abuse of military intelligence in favor of his wife, Jana. False testimony can send people to three years in prison, according to Czech law.
 
Ukraine
Ukrainian parliament proposed more than 13,000 amendments (the highest in Ukraine’s lawmaking history) to the proposed text of a banking bill that would allow the country to sign an US$ 8bn deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The high number of proposed changes is believed to be an attempt by lawmakers to stall the bill. If adopted, the bill would prevent nationalized banks from being returned to their previous owners, one of whom is Ihor Kolomoisky, local oligarch.
 
Romania
The unemployment rate in the hospitality sector in the country reached 60% and is expected to climb to 90% in the near future, according to forecasts from the Romanian Tourism Employers Association.
 
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The arrest warrant for Mario Iorgulescu, son of the president of the Professional Football League in Romania, was revoked by the Appeal Court just one month after it was issued by Bucharest Municipal Court. Iorgulescu was accused of manslaughter and driving under influence (alcohol and drugs). He was transferred to a hospital in Italy immediately after the car accident he caused.
 
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Local elections in Romania are to be postponed and the incumbent local administrations will have their mandates extended until 31 December 2020.
 
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Trade unions at Romatsa, the company that manages the Romanian air space, argue that the appointment of the new director at the company’s Bucharest branch was politically motivated.
 
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The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Romania’s corruption-busting watchdog, will investigate the €12m contract signed by the Romanian government for the acquisition of protection masks. The contract was granted to the company Romwine&Cofee that was set up a year earlier and whose main activity was the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
 
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Romanian entrepreneur Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, one of the brains behind several major organized crime groups in Romania, was granted early release from the Rahova prison where he was serving an 11-year prison term for serious crimes involving money laundering and fraud.
 
Poland
The Polish parliament yesterday passed a controversial bill under which presidential elections in May would be held by postal vote only. The bill was sponsored by MPs from the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
 
Lithuania
Economists estimate that every week of quarantine in Lithuania, introduced to slow the spread of the coronavirus, leads to a shrinking of the country's annual GDP by 0.5%, Finance Minister Vilius Sapoka said.
 
Latvia
The government coalition has agreed to move upcoming snap municipal elections in Riga to 5 September 2020.
 
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An association representing Lithuanian dairy manufacturers has warned of the risk for a “dairy war” between suppliers in the Baltic states. Lithuanian authorities are apparently taking measures that would lead to a complete halt of high-quality milk imports from Latvia and Estonia.
 
Estonia
Estonia announced that it joined the Latvian and Finnish common army mobility system.
 
Hungary
The institutional independence of the judiciary in Hungary has been severely undermined by ongoing reform and judges are under attack from multiple directions, according to a report by Amnesty International Hungary.
 
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The government adopted a new economic protection plan that includes a wage support scheme, reintroduction of the 13th retirement pay per year and aid worth over HUF 2,000bn (€5.5bn) in the form of loans with low interests, subsidies or state guarantees to companies affected by the pandemic.
 
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The last weekly sales of the Hungarian Government Securities Plusz bonds for retail investors reached HUF 24.5bn, down from HUF 26.2bn in the previous week.
 
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A fund of the Hungarian investment fund manager Optima has acquired nearly 62% in Globe Trade Center (GTC), a property developer based in Poland that is listed on the Warsaw and Johannesburg stock exchanges. GTC was purchased from an affiliate of U.S.-based Lone Star Funds.
 
Russia
The United States yesterday included Imperial Movement, a Russian far-right group, on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. It is for the first time when the American administration is targeting white supremacists organizations with tools regularly used against jihadist groups. Imperial Movement runs two paramilitary training camps in St. Petersburg and has mobilized neo-Nazis from all over the Western world.
 

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Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash