Police officer accused of bribing for apartment in Brno, denied guilt in court

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-05-14   19:57

The Brno Municipal Court today began hearing the case of police officer Jiří Vlček, who, according to the prosecutor, gave a bribe of CZK 360 000 for the allocation of an apartment in Brno for his daughter. The man has denied guilt. The case is closely related to the case surrounding Otakar Bradáč, the former chairman of the housing commission of the Brno-střed district and an ODS politician, in which police are prosecuting several people. The main trial will continue on Wednesday, when Bradáč is expected to testify as a witness. It is not expected that a decision will be heard on that day.

According to prosecutor Petra Lastovecka, the accused police officer sought the unauthorized allocation of a city apartment on Beethoven Street in 2021 and 2022. According to the prosecutor, he asked his acquaintance, who had contacts with the managing director of the real estate agency Zdeněk Červinka and Bradáč, to help his daughter get priority for the apartment in exchange for a bribe. According to the applicant, he knew that the persons concerned were able to influence the allocation of the flat in a significantly shorter period than usual, the usual period in Brno being several years. The daughter obtained the apartment. Like Bradáč, Červinka is being prosecuted by the police in the main branch of the case.

"I feel innocent because I did not influence the allocation of the apartment to my daughter and I did not hand over any money to anyone," Vlček said. He said his acquaintance had worked in the real estate market for a long time, which is why he had inquired about the possibility of buying or renting an apartment and asked him for contacts to real estate agents. He said that his daughter did get the apartment, but he does not agree with anything else in the indictment. He said that he joined the police in 1990, had received about 22 medals for exemplary service since then, and if the trial goes well, he would like to continue working for the police.

The defendant's daughter testified as a witness that she had been dealing with the housing situation for a long time, and the Beethoven Street apartment was one of several she had applied for. Her father, she said, had not been actively involved. She dealt with the housing situation with Červink's real estate agency PJ-Reality, specifically with its employee Eva Vágnerová. Police are also prosecuting Vágnerová in connection with the housing case. The witness said that Vágnerová had provided her with information and advice, but that she had never been told that she should pay anything. Vágnerová's information and advice eventually led to the allocation of an apartment. She said the woman thanked her for her long-term consultations and gave her a flower.

Two members of the housing committee at the time also testified, one of whom said she was concerned about the allocation of apartments and did not understand why the person with the most points was sometimes not selected. In the case of the apartment on Beethoven Street, she stated that she did not vote for the allocation of the apartment to the person in question and did not like the motivation letter that accompanied the application. In it, she said, the woman stated, among other things, that she had a low income. "In doing so, she chose one of the most expensive flats with an area of 150 square metres," the witness said.

The case is closely related to the case surrounding Bradac, and this part of the investigation is still ongoing. Police officers intervened in Brno in October 2022 on suspicion of machinations with flats in the Brno-střed district. Eight people were detained. At that time, the High State Prosecutor's Office in Olomouc initiated criminal prosecution of those concerned for participation in an organised criminal group, accepting bribes for the benefit of the group and abuse of authority of an official. Last February, the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office cancelled the prosecution of two of them, and police then began prosecuting three more people.

Last week, the municipal court imposed suspended sentences as well as fines on two people in connection with the bribery case. They both pleaded guilty and entered into plea bargains with the prosecutor, and the court approved the plea bargains in open court. These are the first convictions in connection with the case.

Source: CTK

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