published: 11.10.2013, 07:30 | updated: 11.10.2013 07:44:50
Prague - All major Czech dailies today comment on the Thursday verdict of a Swiss court that found four Czech managers of the MUS coal-mining company guilty of fraud and money laundering and sent them to prison.
The conviction of big fraudsters depriving the Czech state of billions of crowns has two shortcomings - the justice came from abroad and quite late since the group of managers had wildly controlled the mines in 1998 already, Lenka Zlamalova writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today.
The Swiss prosecutors have taught their Czech colleagues a lesson showing how to prove quilt in serious and sophisticated economic crime cases. Their indictment is based on precise analyses of money flows between bank accounts in strange destinations, Zlamalova points out.
It is a pity that the Czech law enforcement bodies did not use the freedom given to the by the previous centre-right government of Petr Necas and did not try to clarify really serious cases.
Instead, high state attorney Ivo Istvan is wasting energy and trustworthiness of attorneys by attempting to criminalise politics, Zlamalova writes, hinting at the alleged political corruption and illegal surveillance case that led to the fall of Necas´s cabinet.
The case of the MUS coal-mining company may stir up the investigation into further dubious transactions in which the Appian group (that was behind the MUS privatisation) and politicians assisting it were involved, Martin Jasminsky writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.
Consequently, one of the model examples of the wild privatisation from the 1990s ends only seemingly though the convicts have a low chance of succeeding with their appeal, he says.
The Swiss prosecutors focused exactly on the MUS but within the investigation they pointed to suspicious circumstances accompanying the purchase of Skoda Plzen, west Bohemia. They indicated that the money from the MUS may have been used for taking control of this firm, Jasminsky writes.
The investigation in a number of matters was reopened in the Czech Republic and the state does not pretend any more that nothing suspicious occurred within the privatisation.
Let us hope that Czech authorities will answer the questions opened by the Swiss with "Swiss speed," Jasminsky says.
Czechs can feel satisfaction that the "Swiss mills" of justice did not stop grinding, though slowly, and finally issued a verdict in the MUS privatisation case, Pavel Paral writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.
This is the first case in history in which major protagonists of the Czech privatisation from the 1990s are really sent to prison for fraud.
The Swiss verdict is surprising in a way. The former managers were convicted of the acts committed 15 years ago that would probably be statute-barred in the Czech Republic. Besides, it seemed hopeless at first sight to prove the real damage incurred though there was no doubt that dishonest behaviour accompanied the coal mines´ privatisation, Paral says.
Naturally, there is a fundamental question whether Swiss banks do not hide the keys to other "secret chambers" of the Czech privatisation, Paral notes.
"In any case, we can be satisfied since slow justice far from Prague is better than no justice at all," he concludes in MfD.
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