Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/CZECH REPUBLIC: CASE OF TRADE IN KIDNEYS ALSO REPORTEDLY INTERESTS CZECH
From: Melanie Orhant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Nov 17 2000 - 07:08:32 EST
CTK Business News (Czech Rep)
11/8/00 CZECH REPUBLIC: CASE OF TRADE IN KIDNEYS ALSO REPORTEDLY INTERESTS
PRAGUE, Nov 8 (CTK) - Czech national police spokeswoman Ivana Zelenakova
claimed for CTK today that the Czech police were, like their German
counterparts, also currently investigating the activities of the
Prague-based firm Transpla-Cent, which media reports say has been illegally
offering to sell human organs.
According to Zelenakova, the case is being investigated by the Czech
Division for Uncovering Organised Crime. At the same time, however, she
went on to say that the Czech police still had no knowledge whatsoever of
any case in which this firm had ever done anything illegal.
"So far we have not registered a single case when someone's organs might
have been taken away from them in violation of law and then illegally used
for transplants, or that on Czech territory there has been any illegal
trade with these removed organs," Zelenakova stated today on behalf of the
Czech national police.
The German news agency dpa, however, said in a report earlier this week
that offers of people's kidneys were coming from the Czech Republic from
the Prague-based firm Transpla-Cent. A firm with this name does exist in
Prague, however, CTK has so far not managed to reach any of its
representatives for comment.
The firm Transpla-Cent s.r.o. has since August 2 of this year been listed
in the Czech Business Register as a limited Czech company with "mediation
activity in the area of trade and services" as its subject of business. A
35-year-old man with the name Alexey Kharassov is listed as its executive.
The register, publicly available on the Internet at www.justice.cz, shows,
however, that most of the basic capital for the firm (180,000 of the total
200,000 Czech crowns) was put into it by a 37-year-old man named Edgar
Rudolf Artz from Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany.
The head of the Transplant Centre of Prague's Institute of Clinical and
Experimental Medicine (IKEM), Stefan Vitko, told CTK on Tuesday that he was
entirely aware that the firm Transpla-Cent was offering to sell human
organs, and he also said that the firm's activities were being looked into
as well by Czech police. However, despite the fact that company is listed
in the official register of Czech businesses, Vitko went on to describe
Transpla-Cent as "a German firm" and not a Czech one, which he added "does
offer organs, but not from the Czech Republic."
"It's just a coincidence that it has its headquarters in Prague," Vitko
continued, without elaborating.
Like Zelenakova today, Vitko also said yesterday that he had no knowledge
of any illegal activity by the Prague-based firm.
German investigators have reportedly turned to the Prague branch of
Interpol and asked it to determine whether or not the Prague firm's
approach constitutes a violation of Czech laws.
A spokesperson for the Czech branch of Interpol told CTK on Tuesday that it
so far still did not have the above-mentioned firm in any of its files,
which means that if Germany has sent a request to the Prague Interpol
office, no such request has yet been received.
Today, furthermore, Zelenakova confirmed for CTK on behalf of the Czech
police that the Prague branch of Interpol was not for the time being
working on the case at all, however, she did claim that Czech police were
cooperating with law enforcement colleagues across the European continent
as well as in the United States.
According to the German federal crime detectives' spokesman Dirk Buechner,
the firm Transpla-Cent has been presenting itself as "an advisory centre of
a private transplant clinic in Nevada [in the USA]". According to Buechner,
the Prague firm offers patients with serious kidney problems "immediate
help in the form of kidneys from living donors" and in its letters calls on
patients to "put themselves above moral and ethical hesitations".
German investigators are among other things now trying to find out how the
Prague firm could have received information about German patients, to whom
it is reportedly directly addressing and sending its letters.
The European Commission has repeatedly called on the Czech Republic to make
a better constructive effort to fight organised crime.
(c) 2000 CTK (Ceska Tiskova Kancelar). All rights reserved.
CTK BUSINESS NEWS 08/11/2000
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