Thursday, 24 April 2014

Court upholds seven years for fraud with Peruvian debt

9 January 2013

Brno, Jan 8 (CTK) - The Czech Supreme Court (NS) has upheld a seven-year prison sentence for Karel Ponocny, a former clerk of the Finance Ministry, who participated in the fake exacting of an allegedly bad state debt in Peru, CTK found out from a resolution in the court's Internet database Tuesday.

The NS said in a recent closed proceeding Ponocny's act had all signs of fraud, the case was entirely cleared up and the punishment meets all legal criteria.

According to the indictment, Ponocny and businessman Anton Murarik cheated then deputy finance minister Ladislav Zelinka telling him Peru still owes the Cezch Republic some 46 million crowns according to the then exchange rate.

They pretended these are bad debts while both of them knew that the money had been in an account with the Ceskoslovenska obchodni banka (CSOB) bank from the 1990s.

Murarik promised Zelinka to try to gain the money with the help of his brother and his firm in Bolivia.

That is why Zelinka signed a contract between the ministry and the Bolivian firm.

Murarik then claimed that probably only a symbolical sum will be exacted in Peru. The condition that the Bolivian firm will be rewarded with any exacted sum exceeding 5 percent of the original debt was stated in an addendum to the contract of 2002.

Later, Ponocny, in his capacity as a ministerial department head, transferred more than 1.5 million dollars to Murarik's account.

Zelinka resigned as deputy finance minister over the scandal and Ponocny fled abroad and lived in Costa Rica. Courts first punished him as fugitive, but in 2009 he was detained by Interpol. After return to the Czech Republic Ponocny applied his right to a repeated trial.

Murarik was also punished with seven years in prison in the past.

The claims arose in 1979 and 1980 when then Czechoslovakia provided Peru with credits and goods.

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