Zelezny: resignation not accepted

A Libertas Czech Republic politician confirmed as a tax evader less than two weeks ago is being retained on the ticket by the party in the European elections.

Vladimir Zelezny's offer to resign as a candidate was declined by the Libertas Czech Republic Council and he will contest the elections next week, a spokeswoman for Libertas said this weekend.

The Prague High Court recently confirmed a two-year suspended sentence with four years' probation for the sitting MEP, who was second on Libertas's list of candidates. The conviction related to the non-payment of Vat to the Czech authorities on the import of paintings.

In the wake of the High Court ruling, Libertas said that Zelezny would tender his resignation as a Libertas candidate to the council of the party in the Czech Republic.

However, it has since emerged that the offer of resignation was not accepted and he remains a Libertas candidate.

The Libertas spokeswoman said that the decision to refuse the offer of resignation was "taken locally" in the Czech Republic. Asked if Libertas was comfortable with having a tax evader on the ticket, a spokeswoman said it respected the decision of the local organisation. "We don't govern everything from Brussels," she said.

Zelezny has been a controversial figure in Czech politics. He was the founder of the country's first commercial television station in the early 1990s. He has been embroiled in multiple legal actions for 11 years in cases involving tax evasion and the sale of the TV station.

Meanwhile, Libertas announced on Friday that it was running 22 candidates in Greece in the European elections as part of a partnership with the Liberal party. An economist and a professor at the University of Athens were the top two names on its list.