Thursday, 24 April 2014

Pitr's case halted due to amnesty

17 January 2013

Prague, Jan 16 (CTK) - The Prague City Court has halted the criminal prosecution of businessmen Tomas Pitr and Miroslav Provod, suspected of tax delicts dating back to 1994, based on the latest presidential amnesty, court deputy chairman Libor Vavra told CTK yesterday.

Pitr and Provod were acquitted in a renewed trial last June, but the appeals court cancelled the verdict and returned the case to the Prague court for reappraisal.

"The prosecution has been halted in a part of Pitr's case, based on the amnesty," Vavra said.

The amnesty President Vaclav Klaus declared on New Year, among others, halts the criminal prosecution of suspects if it lasted more than eight years and if they faced up to ten years in prison.

In a separate case concerning illegal transfers of shares and further tax evasion, Pitr was last June sentenced to three years in prison, a verdict that has taken effect and is not subject to the amnesty. Pitr spent two years in custody before being convicted. In autumn the court released him from jail on a three-year probation.

In the case that has been halted now, Pitr and Provod were in 2006 sentenced to five years in prison each for depriving the state of 23.5 million crowns in unpaid taxes by means of fictitious invoices.

After their acquittal and the attorney's appeal, the courts started dealing with the case again. The lowest-level court stated that the suspects' activities in question are no longer unlawful. The court only proved that the two men signed fictitious contracts in search of a VAT subtraction, but it could not find any data proving that the controversial subtraction really occurred.

The court said the two committed "the preparation for the crime of tax evasion," which, however, is no longer a crime under the new Criminal Code from 2010.

Pitr was hiding abroad from 2007. In July 2010 he was detained in Switzerland and later transferred to the Czech Republic.

($1=19.207 crowns)

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