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MfD: President Zeman grants his first pardon to fraudster

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Prague, Feb 17 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman has granted his first pardon in office to a serial fraudster who committed 38 frauds in three years, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Wednesday.

The convicted fraudster, Pavel Mares, from the vicinity of Pelhrimov, south Bohemia, was sentenced to three years in prison by a district court. He spent part of his sentence and then he was released on parole for health reasons to be treated in hospital. He suffers from multiple sclerosis, MfD adds.

Zeman justified the pardon by the man’s illness.

The paper has gained the complete verdict in which all the crimes are described in detail. It shows that Mares was found guilty of very common frauds. He ordered goods and material for his firm offering construction and joiner works and he did not pay for them. He did not pay the bills for his phone and car service either.

Mares has cheated many people out of their money. He caused the highest damage to a married couple who had ordered the construction of a family house for 2.3 million crowns with his firm. They paid him deposits of 2.2 million of which he spent only 1.6 million on the construction.

He did not complete the house in time and not even later at variance with the signed contract and he did not return the surcharge to the clients though they withdrew from the contract, MfD writes citing the verdict file.

Daily Pravo wrote on Wednesday that the report on Zeman’s pardon has shocked the inhabitants of Pacov, south Bohemia, where he was running business and is ill famed among most inhabitants. “I do not think that the president is doing what he is saying,” one of the damaged persons told Pravo.

MfD writes that Mares, 34, started committing frauds when his firm, established in 2006, started declining.

MfD failed to contact the man or find out his residence and details about his illness. The Presidential Office released only his initials.

This has been the first pardon Zeman has granted in office that he assumed in March 2013. He said before the 2013 presidential election he would not declare amnesties and grant pardons with the exception of clearly humanitarian cases. He transferred the power to grant pardons to the Justice Ministry in November 2014.

Clerks from the Justice Ministry, who requested anonymity, say they cannot fully understand the criteria according to which Zeman grants pardons, MfD writes.

“The Justice Ministry is automatically sending the requests for pardon for which there are serious health reasons to the Presidential Office. We do not assess whether it is a theft or a murder (of which the claimant was convicted),” a source from the ministry told the paper.

Zeman’s predecessors in the post of Czech president, Vaclav Havel (1993-2003) and Vaclav Klaus (2003-13), granted almost 1700 pardons in 1993-2013. They either pardoned or changed the sentence or halted the prosecution. Havel also granted 601 pardons during his term as Czechoslovak president (1989-1992).

The last communist president Gustav Husak granted as many as 2018 pardons in 1988 alone, which was one year before the regime collapsed.

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