Czech ex-governor Rath, charged with graft, is returned passport


05.08.2014 11:49

Prague - A court has returned passport to former Central Bohemia regional governor David Rath, 49, who is facing corruption charges, and he does not have to report to the probation officer, he told CTK today.


Bývalý středočeský hejtman David Rath poskytl 4. srpna v Hostivici u Prahy rozhovor ČTK. ČTK Vondrouš Roman

Last November, Rath was released after an 18-month stay in custody and he is being tried at liberty now. His trial started one year ago on August 7.

If convicted of taking the bribe of almost 16 million crowns, Rath may be sentenced up to 12 years in prison.

A doctor by profession, Rath said due to his workload and the trial he was not about to leave abroad.

"I have my passport with me and I can travel. As you can see, I am not fleeing anywhere," said Rath, who has denied any wrongdoing.

He said when no prosecution was taking place, he was spending much of his time in the surgery.

Rath, a former member of the Chamber of Deputies and Central Bohemian governor for the Social Democrats (CSSD), was caught red-handed with seven million crowns, a suspected bribe, in a wine box in May 2012 and charged with bribery linked to the planned reconstruction of the Bustehrad chateau, central Bohemia.

He is also suspected of having taken other bribes connected with the purchase of hospital equipment in the Central Bohemia Region.

In all, 11 people are facing corruption charges in Rath's case.

Rath was also Czech health minister in 2005-2006.

Last year, the Constitutional Court (US) ruled that the judiciary had violated Rath's fundamental rights by excessively prolonging his stay in custody, which opens the way to his compensation.

He said he was trying to watch the developments in Central Bohemia and that he maintained a frequent contact with some politicians.

($1 = 20.596 crowns)

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