Czech Police to charge 10 people in ProMoPro case

Companies that got money from ProMoPro, which won a huge contract during the Czech EU Presidency, will be first to face charges

HOT TOP|Politics & Policy
Brian Kenety | 18.10.2011
ProMoPro owner Jaroslav Veselý paid Kč 340 mln to NWDC, which transferred Kč 135 mln to a UK offshore and Kom-Forest CZ

Anti-corruption police will charge 10 people in connection with a lucrative contract awarded without a tender during the Czech Republic’s turn at the helm of the rotating EU Presidency (January-June 2009) to ProMoPro, a domestic company that provides audiovisual services. The non-competitive contract was awarded by then Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS), who is now the defense minister, and the Finance Ministry.

“It is now clear that the state suffered at least dozens of millions of crowns in damages. Therefore, the police want to prosecute a number of specific individuals,” a state official familiar with the details of the case told the news server Aktuálně.cz. However, no official announcement had been made as of Tuesday morning, and a spokesperson for the High Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (VSZ) in Prague said it had not received an official request to launch criminal proceedings.

In January, the Finance Ministry’s watchdog combating financial crime and money laundering (FAÚ) said it had received a report from an unnamed financial institution about suspicious money flows to and from the accounts of ProMoPro and its owners. Last month, the VSZ in Prague reportedly asked British authorities for help in tracing companies and payments related to the ProMoPro contract, worth an initial Kč 550 million. The Finance Ministry has said it is unclear what the state received for some Kč 240 million of that amount.

The first to be charged will include representatives of firms on whose accounts state money paid to ProMoPro eventually ended up.

According to Aktuálně.cz, the first to be charged will include representatives of companies on whose bank accounts the Czech state’s money paid to ProMoPro eventually ended up. ProMoPro’s owner and director, Jaroslav Veselý, confirmed he paid Kč 340 million to the Prague-registered company NWDC, which then transferred Kč 135 million to Deeside Services Solutions (an offshore company that changed its name to Inteprod Ltd. last year) and the Prague-registered firm Kom-Forest CZ, which according to the commercial register is involved in the forestry sector.

Members of Vondra’s team during the Czech EU Presidency — who critics say failed to control “inflated” payments to ProMoPro or properly audit expenses — could also be prosecuted, the news server said. “So far, there is no evidence whether it was a pre-meditated plan by officials and accountants to draw more state money or if they took advantage of the chaos around the events [of the Czech EU Presidency],” an unidentified source told Aktuálně.cz.

Police investigators and other experts are now looking into other contracts concluded during the Czech EU Presidency. 

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