published: 17.10.2013, 12:50 | updated: 17.10.2013 12:52:35
Nymburk - Czech President Milos Zeman believes that former Social Democrat (CSSD) Central Bohemia regional governor and MP David Rath charged with corruption is guilty, Zeman told a public rally at the end of his three-day visit to the Central Bohemia Region today.
It is improbable that Rath would have printed banknotes himself, Zeman added.
Rath was caught red-handed with seven million crowns, a suspected bribe, in May 2012. He was 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 region.
Zeman recalled that presumption of innocence is applied in the Czech legal system, which means that no one can be labelled a thief unless they are convicted.
"I say so though I personally think that he is a thief. Since if someone finds seven million crowns in a wine box, it is very, very improbable that he would have printed the banknotes himself," Zeman said.
The Prague Regional Court is dealing with the case of Rath and another ten people accused together with him, including former lawmaker Petr Kott, former head of the VZP public health insurer´s branch, and then hospital director Katerina Pancova.
They are charged with manipulating Central Bohemia's public procurement.
According to the charges, Pancova and Kott organised the corruption. They allegedly informed Rath about all steps and shared the bribes with him.
The other accused are managers of the firms suspected of having assisted in the machinations.
If found guilty, Rath faces up to 12 years in prison.
Rath and Kott were remanded in custody in May 2012, along with Pancova. She was recently released from custody after over 16 months.
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