Czechs hunt Briton in cash probe

May 27, 2005

Interpol is helping Czech police and university authorities find a British administrator who disappeared after the discovery of financial irregularities in a European Union-funded programme at Palacky University in Olomouc.

Paul Whittaker, the former manager of Instep - a company that managed EU and Czech government-funded student projects in Palacky's arts faculty - appears to have left the country after the Education Ministry began investigating evidence that cash under his control had been used improperly.

Local tax officials fined Instep, and the university brought in the police for a deeper inquiry into the company's finances.

Interpol, the international police organisation, has assisted in the search for Mr Whittaker.

Ivo Bartecek, dean of arts, said he had established email contact with Mr Whittaker. "We want him to explain the situation," he told the Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes , adding that the size of "financial damage" would be known only after a police investigation.

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