Court begins case of the sale of flats in the centre of Prague, 28 people face charges

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2023-01-24   14:39
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The District Court for Prague 1 today began hearing a case involving the sale of city flats in the centre of Prague from 2012 to 2015, which the prosecution claims were sold below cost. The indictment is facing 28 people, mostly former Prague 1 councillors. The prosecutor read out the indictment in the morning, after which the defence lawyers and some of the defendants commented on it. Most of them denied guilt. The defendants will be questioned in the afternoon.

Initially, 34 people were prosecuted in the case. Four have entered into plea bargains with prosecutor Tomas Jarolimek. The court has not yet approved them and will decide on them in separate proceedings. Two other people have accepted the fines imposed by the court in a criminal order. The court initially imposed the fines on the other defendants, but they have opposed the decision and the court is now hearing their case in the main trial.

The public prosecutor claims that Prague 1 sold 22 housing units below cost between 2012 and 2015. According to him, the defendants failed to ascertain the usual price, which caused CZK 32.5 million in damage to the city district. However, not all of the defendants were in office during all the tenders mentioned in the indictment.

The defence lawyers and some of the defendants subsequently commented on the indictment, but all of them denied guilt. Some of them disagreed that they had not ascertained the normal price of the flats. They pointed out that the purpose of selling the flats was not only to maximise profit but also to stem the loss of population in the centre of the metropolis. Among the defendants is, for example, former mayor Oldřich Lomecký (then TOP 09), who excused himself from today's hearing. His attorney today denied the charges on behalf of his client.

The court will hear the defendants this afternoon, with the main trial scheduled for Wednesday.

Source: CTK