Saturday, 7 July 2018

Ex-minister Drabek prosecuted on suspicion of subsidy fraud

ČTK |
17 May 2018

Prague, May 16 (CTK) - The police prosecute former Czech labour and social affairs minister Jaromir Drabek (TOP 09) and other former ministerial officials on suspicion of a subsidy fraud, Drabek has confirmed on his website, saying the accusations are fabricated.

The National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ) is prosecuting two former senior officials of the Labour Ministry on suspicion of preparing a subsidy fraud and abuse of office in the transformation of the Fund for Further Education, while another former ministry section head is also accused of preparing a fraud in the case, centre spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej told CTK on Wednesday.

Drabek said he had received the decision on launching his criminal prosecution in late February.

Two of the accused have filed complaints against their prosecution and the Prague State Attorney's Office has not decided on them yet, Ibehej said, adding that he would not release more details.

The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry did not want to elaborate either.

The ministry asked to join the criminal proceedings as another damaged party, its spokesman Vladimir Repka said.

The Fund for Further Education (FDV) has existed since 2011 as a subsidised organisation of the Labour Ministry. It was established to draw money from European funds for the projects to improve employment.

Drabek, who headed the ministry in 2010-2012, writes on his website that he is prosecuted for having repeatedly signed the fund founding papers in 2011-2012 and the police suspect him of having made unlawful changes deliberately.

He denies any wrongdoing.

The police raided the Labour Ministry over the fund in December 2016. They took away documents and other materials from the office.

The Supreme Audit Office (NKU) announced in July 2015 that the Labour Ministry had violated law in the establishment of the fund. The ministry additionally embedded the fund in an amendment on employment.

According to the previous information, the European Commission may have assessed the fund as an unauthorised recipient of European money and demanded that the subsidies be returned to Brussels.

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