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Attorney proposes up to nine years for ex-minister Rath

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Prague, March 20 (CTK) – Former Czech regional governor and ex-minister David Rath should be sentenced to eight to nine years in prison and complete property seizure for extensive bribery, state attorney Petr Jirat proposed in his final speech at the Prague Regional Court on Tuesday.

Jirat proposed the same punishment for Katerina Kottova and her husband Petr, who are also charged in the Rath case and whom he considers the main masterminds of the corruption connected with manipulating public contracts.

In reaction to Jirat’s speech, Rath said if capital punishment or life forced labour in the uranium mines had existed, Jirat would have proposed them, too, for them.

Along with Rath, another ten people, construction firms’ managers and executives of healthcare companies, including the Kott couple, are charged in the corruption case.

In July 2015, the court sentenced Rath, 52, former CSSD lawmaker (2006-2012), Central Bohemia governor (2008-2012) and health minister (2005-2006), to 8.5 years in prison and the forfeiture of some 20 million crowns for taking bribes worth millions of crowns linked to the manipulated public orders in the Central Bohemia Region.

However, the Prague High Court cancelled the verdict due to the unlawful use of wiretappings in the autumn of 2016 and returned the case to the Regional Court for reappraisal.

In the meantime, the justice minister filed a complaint against the High Court’s decision with the Supreme Court. It decided last June that the High Court had breached the law to the benefit of the defendants and that wiretappings can be used in the Rath case.

The Regional Court in Prague started dealing with the case again on March 6.

Consequently, Jirat presented his final speech in the Rath case for the third time. This time, he demanded more or less the same sentence levels for the defendants as in the past. Only in one case, he proposed a suspended sentence instead of a prison term.

According to the indictment, Rath and the Kotts demanded bribes of more than 48 million crowns and they managed to take over 38 million in bribes until the police arrested them in May 2012. Courts have been dealing with the case since 2013.

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