“Aren’t there twenty of them?” Wiretaps captured Pelt’s lobbying for Nejedlý iROZHLAS

  • Former Czech football chief Miroslav Pelta and then deputy to the Ministry of Education Simona Kratochvílová established their own criteria for awarding subsidies based on clientelism, and in evaluating projects they were mainly based on who is behind the projects and what they will benefit from.
  • Prague City Court judge Lenka Cihlářová described their actions this way. In 174 pages, the judge explains why Pelta was sentenced to six years in prison and Kratochvíl to six more years for manipulating sports subsidies.
  • The verdict is still invalid, both appealed on the spot.
  • However, the judge wrote that she had no doubts about the defendants’ guilt based on the evidence. According to her, they tried to cause damage in the amount of at least 178,899,090 crowns.




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Miroslava Pelta and Simona Kratochvílová, then deputy minister in the Ministry of Education, established their own criteria for awarding grants based on clientelism | Photo: Profimedia photo bank, collage iROZHLAS.cz

According to a court document, Martin Nejedlý, the president’s adviser, was one of those Pelta wanted to satisfy. It was on January 27, 2017, when Pelta told Kratochvílová that the Bílovec sports association was to receive a grant from the Ministry of Education, that the President’s adviser himself became interested.


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“I don’t like you. Inedible, you know what I mean.” It’s inedible, it’s Bílovec, it has to be. Look, Martin told me yesterday when we were there – it’s a house,” said Pelta Kratochvílová in apartment number 1306 on Senovážné náměstí in central Prague, which became a place where he usually was. decided who would receive support in the order million crowns.Their conversation was intercepted by wiretaps.

The school sports club Bílovec asked the state for a total of 13 million crowns, which was not a small sum. Pelta and Kratochvílová then discussed which other grant applications would be dropped.

“I don’t have a solution. Man, I can’t think of anything. Isn’t there about twenty? Pardubices you fire or something?” Pelta asks the deputy “If I fire Pardubice, I will have to put Jeseník there,” replies Kratochvílová.

In the end, the football boss complains that he had nothing to do with it. “Bílovec, that Martin Nejedlý, too, h ‘of that. No way, I’m just a porter, because I have to bring it like that.”

short memory

Inedible in court couldn’t remember if he lobbied for the grant. He claimed that the name of the club meant something to him, but he didn’t know what.


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“It appears from the testimony of witness Martin Nejedlý that the name of the club means something to him, but during his activities he has toured the republic several times,” paraphrased the judge. At the same time, however, the president’s adviser admitted in court that he was Pelt’s friend.

“Pelta and I have been friends for a long time, they solved various problems together, important people in sports, it was communication between men. The defendant Pelta invited him to football matches, even at the ‘stranger,’ said Judge Cihlářová.

Even Bílovec club president Peter Šloff could not recall in court why this club should have had priority over others. He claimed he did not know Martin Nejedlý. And when Radiožurnál tried to contact him, he hung up. “I won’t tell you about it,” he said abruptly.

“She didn’t do anything”

The example of the subsidy for Bílovec illustrates how, according to the verdict on the subsidies, Pelta and Kratochvílová made their decision. In other words, millions were not really decided by the commission of the Ministry of Education, but by these two in a rented apartment in the center of Prague.

Penalties

  • Former Czech football chief Miroslav Pelt was sentenced to six years in prison, a five-year ban on working in the statutory bodies of companies and a fine of five million.
  • Former Deputy Education Minister Simona Kratochvílová was imprisoned for 6.5 years, banned from holding public office for six years and sentenced to an additional 2 million fines.
  • On the contrary, the other defendants – the president of the Czech Sports Union (ČUS) Miroslav Jansta, the secretary of the union Jan Boháč, the former Minister of the Ministerial Department of Sports Zdeněk Bříza and ČUS and the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FAČR) were acquitted by the court.

“During the month of January 2017, the defendants Kratochvílová and Pelta selected candidates which they included, according to their own priorities or those of related parties, in the list of selected candidates”, described the judge.

The two appealed the verdict in the courtroom. “We appealed immediately, we are currently working on completing the appeal to overturn the verdict. Now there is basically a defined field, so we basically know what to limit ourselves to,” Pelta commented for Radiožurnál on a letter of verdict.

He defended himself in court by advising the MP who was behind the claims, but he himself had no opportunity to influence the allocation of funds. And the deputy at the time then refused to follow Pelt’s instructions.

“They spoke to Defendant Pelt about a number of things, but Defendant never did anything Defendant Pelt said,” the judge paraphrased.

Witnesses

However, the judge did not believe it and wrote directly in the verdict that, given the evidence, she had no doubts about the defendants’ guilt. And this is attested not only by wiretaps, but also by witness testimonies and documentary evidence.

“Even before the start of the evaluation, they actually decided on the future granting of grants to shortlisted projects, both of which were based mainly on the relationship with the defendant Miroslav Pelta, whose influential person asked or mentioned a support for these projects what type of influence these people have had and in what specific position, whether in the political or sporting environment, and what type of support will have political, financial or other benefits for them and for the people who requested the benefit of certain projects instead of the decision on the distribution of funds being made transparently according to predetermined criteria… Miroslav Pelta and Simona Kratochvílová set their own evaluation criteria for the allocation of grants based on the clientelism and illegally favored some grant applications…”


Lenka Cihlářová (Judge)

In addition to Nejedlý, according to Pelt’s judgment, the deputy tried to satisfy other influential people. According to the judge, at least 18 grants out of 50 were granted in March 2017 thanks to Pelta’s interventions with Kratochvílová.

“The list of defendants also included such requests, the success of which they themselves could benefit from, whether socially, economically, politically or by influence. According to their assessment, these requests included requests concerning the Prime Minister of the epoch, Sobotka (Bohuslava, pos. ed.)then Minister Valachová (Kateřina, editor’s note)Witness of Křetínský (Daniela, editor’s note – President of the Sparta Prague football board)Witness of the Inedible, of the YES movement and of various rulers,” wrote the judge.

In none of the cases, however, was it possible to prove that any of them lobbied Kratochvílová directly in Pelta, which is why they acted as witnesses in court. Everyone then refused in court that they wanted to pass a project through the defendants.

Custom criteria

Grants were officially decided by a commission of the Ministry of Education. According to the court, however, Pelta and Kratochvílová made sure in advance that he would select their favorite projects. And so they discussed individual reviewers in advance. And when they thought they were faithful, Kratochvíl gave them the criterion with the highest possible score.

“It appears from this evidence that the defendants met in person before the commission with certain members of the commission because of their influence or through third parties,” the judge said, describing what preceded the official assessment of the grant applications.

The prosecution also charged Pelt with corruption and Kratochvílová with accepting a bribe. However, the fact that Pelta provided Kratochvílová with an apartment and a holiday voucher cannot be seen as a bribe, given the nature of their relationship.

Miroslav Jansta, influential lawyer and president of the Czech Sports Union, Jan Boháč, secretary of the Czech Sports Union and Zdeněk Bříza, former minister of the sports department, were also tried. The court acquitted them.

Marketa Chaloupska

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