World News

Czech MEP accused of trying to snatch 350 mln euros from Swiss bank

PRAGUE/BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Swiss police arrested a Czech communist member of the European Parliament and three Slovak nationals who tried to withdraw 350 million euros ($380 million) from a bank using forged papers, Czech and Slovak officials said on Friday.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec confirmed the arrest of the four men.

They include Miloslav Ransdorf, 62, an expert on Karl Marx and a former philosophy teacher who speaks about dozen languages and who has served in the European Parliament since the Czech Republic’s entry to the European Union in 2004.

“Swiss authorities told our ambassador that Mr. Ransdorf was released (from custody), so I assume he could be on his way home now,” Lenka Lagronova, a Czech foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Friday.

She said the politician had not contacted the Czech embassy in Switzerland, so the ministry had no further details.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact Ransdorf for comment.

Media reports said the group tried to withdraw the money at a Zurich bank on Thursday but the documents they presented did not match records.

Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova and Robert Muller; Editing by Ruth Pitchford