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Officials acquitted in Czech EU presidency case demand compensation

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Prague, Oct 26 (CTK) – Three former senior officials from the section of the Czech Republic’s EU presidency in 2009 who were acquitted of charges in the Promopro case of an overpriced state order during the presidency demand a compensation from the state, the server reported on Thursday.

The appeals court ruled in January that the officials were innocent. The court did not qualify their acts as a crime.

Nine businesspeople, convicted in the case, were sent to prison from 3.5 to nine years.

The Promopro firm secured audiovisual services for the Czech EU presidency events. It received the contract from the Government Office without a public tender in 2008.

In 2012, the police charged the senior officials, former EU presidency section head Jana Hendrichova, lawyer David Mlicko and diplomat Radomir Karlik, with abuse of power over an expedient and unsubstantiated preferential treatment of Promopro.

The Prague Municipal Court called them “scapegoats” who had no motive for criminal activities. The judge said in January the officials had selected Promopro since they had presupposed this was the only firm able to secure such an extensive order in time.

Mlicko demands 4.7 million crowns from the state in compensation for harm to property, Hendrichova claims 450,000 and 950,000 crowns in two lawsuits for damage caused by a wrong official procedure. Mlicko demands a financial compensation, too.

Their lawsuits were filed with the Prague district court, its spokeswoman Marcela Prollerova said.

The Justice Ministry will represent the state in the subsequent court proceedings. Its spokesman Jakub Riman confirmed that the officials had sent requests for out-of-court settlement to the ministry in the spring, but it had not decided on them yet.

Out of the businesspeople convicted in the Promopro case, Vlastimil Maxa and former Promopro executive Jaroslav Vesely received the highest prison sentence of nine years each.

According to the verdict, Vesely and Maxa submitted to the office false invoices for the services that were never carried out or were not connected with the conferences during the EU presidency. Other defendants helped legalise the unlawfully gained money by transferring it to other entities and then collecting it in cash. They thereby caused damage to the state amounting to hundreds of millions of crowns.

Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democratic Party, ODS), who was in charge of the presidency as deputy prime minister for European affairs in 2009, avoided the charges. He was a witness in the trial and stood up for the senior officials in court.

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