Thursday, 24 April 2014

Major fraud case shelved owing to presidential amnesty

16 January 2013

Prague, Jan 15 (CTK) - The Municipal Court in Prague has stopped the criminal prosecution of three defendants over tax evasion in connection with the import of fuel from Slovakia in which the state lost billions of crowns under President Vaclav Klaus's amnesty, state attorney Radim Danhel told CTK yesterday.

The decision related to Martin Pechan, former executive of the Tukovy prumysl company, Milan Vomela, former member of the Bena company's board, and Leopold Klimus, Venturon Investment executive, Danhel said, adding that the state attorney would lodge a complaint against it.

In the deals of Bena, a Slovak company, and Tukovy prumysl in 1997-2002, the state reportedly lost over 2.6 billion crowns.

The indictment had two counts. The first related to the involvement of representatives of Bena and Tukovy prumysl.

The state attorney said without the knowledge of customs authorities, they imported and sold fuel from Slovakia through the pipeline network of the state fuel supplier Cepro.

The second related to the deals between Bena and Tukovy prumysl Ostrava. Based on fictitious deals with fuel, the defendants wanted to swindle out 327.5 million crowns from the tax office, the state attorney said, adding that they succeeded partly, having won about 17 million crowns.

Vomela and Pechan have been prosecuted since July 2003 and Klimus since 2002. The case also involves other people.

Last February, the indictment was passed to the court, but Klaus's New Year amnesty has stopped the trial.

Within the general amnesty, Klaus ordered that all criminal proceedings taking over eight years and carrying less than ten years in prison be halted.

($1=19.201 crowns)

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Perhaps Klaus should be required to pay restitution in place of the criminals he let loose with his amnesty. Since he holds the perpetuators unaccountable, he should be forced to be accountable for his amnestry.