Former Czech MUS managers prepare appeal to Swiss court


01.07.2014 11:56

Prague - The Czech managers convicted of fraud and money laundering in the privatisation of the MUS coal mining company have prepared an appeal, pointing to the alleged violation of their fundamental rights, legal incapacity and incompetence of the Swiss court, their lawyers said today.


Bývalí manažeři Mostecké uhelné (MUS) Petr Kraus (vlevo) a Marek Čmejla (vpravo) informovali 1. července na tiskové konferenci v Praze, že mají připravené odvolání proti rozsudku švýcarského soudu v kauze privatizace MUS. Soud pět exmanažerů loni v říjnu uznal vinnými z podvodů a praní špinavých peněz a odsoudil je k nepodmíněným trestům odnětí svobody. ČTK Doležal Michal

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona gave Jiri Divis, Antonin Kolacek, Marek Cmejla, Petr Kraus and Oldrich Klimecky sentences randing betwen one year and four months to four years and four months last October. The verdict has not yet taken effect. The men dismiss any wrongdoing.

They also want to point to the alleged distortion of evidence in their appeal.

The managers received the justification of the verdict in writing in early June. Some of them can appeal the verdict by Thursday, July 3, the others by next week.

Lawyer Bohdan Zacek said the managers will also base their appeal on the alleged violation of the right to a just trial and to due defence.

Zacek said in this connection the justification of the verdict was not translated into Czech. He said given the 30-day deadline for filing the appeal, five translators were hired to translate the text, which took them two weeks.

The appeal will be dealt with by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland in Lausanne.

The Bellinzona court also ruled last November that it will not release any compensation for the Czech Republic and the Czech Coal Services (CCS) company, successor to MUS, from the former MUS managers´ frozen accounts.

According to the court, the financial damage the managers caused by their alleged criminal activities exceeds the value of their frozen means. Unless they win their case on appeal, they will lose their billions.

In the Czech Republic, the five men have been charged with abuse of information and their position in business contact. The police suspect them of having taken 150 million dollars, or an equivalent of more than three billion crowns, from MUS, which they used to buy MUS shares.

In October 2012, they were also charged with fraud in the firm´s privatisation in 1999. According to the state attorney, they inflicted a damage of more than 1.6 billion crowns on the Czech state.

In addition to the former MUS managers, former industry deputy minister Robert Sykora and arms dealer Pavel Musela have been prosecuted in the case.

Sykora has been charged with bribe taking and Musela with bribe giving. Both face up to five years in prison if found guilty. The state attorney says they are prosecuted in connection with the government´s decision-making on the sale of MSU shares.

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