Zlin - Tomas Krepela and Rudolf Fian have received life sentences for mixing lethal tainted spirits that killed four dozen people in the Czech Republic in late 2012 and early 2013, according to the verdict that the Zlin Regional Court issued today.
Krajský soud ve Zlíně začal 3. března projednávat kauzu hlavní, takzvané zlínské větve metanolové kauzy. Na snímku v popředí je čtveřice hlavních aktérů, (zprava) Rudolf Fian (v bílém triku), Jiří Vacula, Tomáš Křepela a Robert Sedlařík. ČTK Peřina Luděk
The two men were punished for endangering the safety of the public. Both Krepela and Fian plead innocent.
The main distributor of the tainted bootleg alcohol, Jiri Vacula, has been sent to 15 years in prison. Vacula cooperated with the detectives investigating the case.
The court imposed high prison sentences on seven other people, sellers and distributors of the illegal spirits, within the main branch of the so-called methanol case.
All seven men claim that they did not know that the alcohol was laced with methanol and most of them also dismissed their participation in the sales of illegal spirits.
Judge Radomir Koudela said all the perpetrators definitely knew that the illegal production and distribution of alcohol may seriously harm people´s health or even cause their death.
Viktor Kolacek, representative of the Vapa Drink firm, received the highest sentence of 21 years in a high-security prison. Businessman Libor Vanderka was sent to prison for 20.5 years.
Entrepreneur Alexander Jordan, Martin Cekota and labourer Ales Svoboda, all from Zlin, were punished with prison sentences of 12 to 13 years.
Robert Sedlarik, Verdana liquor distributor, was sent to eight years in prison and his real estate was confiscated. Last year, Sedlarik was sentenced to five years in prison for not paying excise tax on illegally made alcohol.
The methanol case started on September 3, 2012. After several people died of methanol poisoning within a few days in Moravia, the eastern part of the country, the Czech authorities adopted extensive measures, which prevented the number of victims from steeply growing, but people were still dying. National bans of hard liquor sales and exports were temporarily imposed in the Czech Republic. The police accused Fian and Krepela in late September 2012.