Prosecutor seeks harsher sentence and forfeiture of assets for Rath, acquittal lawyer

Prosecutor Jiří Pražák asks the appeal chamber to toughen the sentence imposed by the court of first instance on the former governor of Central Bohemia David Rath in the second branch of his corruption case. On the contrary, Rath’s lawyers demand the former governor’s acquittal. According to them, there is no evidence to convict him.

Rath left Prague Regional Court in January 2020 with an eight-year prison sentence for accepting bribes and manipulating contracts in the Central Bohemian region. The court thus extended by one year his seven-year prison sentence which had previously been imposed on him by law.

According to Pražák, increasing the sentence by one year is not enough. Already in the regional court, he demanded that Rath spend at least two and a half years in prison. He also proposes that the property of the former governor be confiscated. “This punishment should not be viewed as disproportionately harsh,” he said, pointing to the extent of Rath’s crime, given that he committed it as a senior politician.

Rath’s lawyer, Roman Jelínek, on the other hand, considers the trial sentence to be disproportionate. In the appeal, he said the witnesses’ statements and actions did not prove bribery or contract manipulation. “Even wiretaps do not prove that there is a promise, request or acceptance of a bribe,” he said.

He considers the fine of 18 million crowns imposed on the former politician by the regional court as a liquidation. In the case of imprisonment, the lawyer argues that the client was repaired and worked in a prison hospital.

Another of the lawyers for the ex-lawyers, Adam Černý, added that the prosecutor is demanding exemplary and draconian sanctions in this case, among other things also because of the media coverage of the case. “The client was condemned in the media before the trial,” he said.

The lawyer for Rath’s son Daniel, who also appealed his father’s verdict, then pointed to the disproportionate fines imposed on Rath and the biggest Czech construction company, Metrostav, also involved in the case . According to the court of first instance, the company must pay ten million.

Severe sanctions also for Mr. and Mrs. Kott

As in the first part of the case, the central trio in the case are former governor Rath, former director of the Kladno hospital Kateřina Kottová and her husband Petr Kott. The court also sentenced the couple to eight years in prison, which means they are expected to spend more than two years in prison each. He also increased their fines, they have to pay 20 million crowns each. The plaintiff also wants the plaintiff to toughen the sentences unconditionally and at the same time let them lose all their property.

However, according to Kott’s lawyer, Tomáš Sokol, the couple have already served their sentence. They did well in prison and were conditionally released by the courts. “It is not clear why new sanctions should be imposed on them,” he said. According to him, Kott also volunteered to work in the correctional service of the prison hospital.

According to the Regional Court’s January verdict at the turn of 2011 and 2012, Rath and Kott agreed to bribes for manipulating tenders for hundreds of millions of crowns for the purchase of ambulances for the Central Bohemian Relief Service, reconstruction of pavilion in Cologne Hospital, construction of pavilions in Mladá Boleslav Hospital and reconstruction of part of Kladno Hospital. According to investigators, the defendants wanted more than 60 million crowns. They received 3.34 million because they were arrested by the police in May 2012.

The trio did not attend the appeal proceedings. Like most of the other defendants, including former Metrostav CEO Pavel Pilát, Rath and Kott agreed to hear the case in their absence. Five other people who left the Prague Regional Trial Court with suspended and non-suspended sentences are facing charges. According to Pražák, the appeal chamber should also toughen the sentences for some of them.

Eight companies are also involved in the case. Metrostav was banned by the court from participating in public procurement for three years. The construction company must also pay a fine of ten million crowns. Hospimed, Jipe and Puro Klima also barred the court from participating in public procurement.

Tenton also faces charges, on which the court imposed the obligation to publish in the media the part of the judgment which concerns the company. The court also punished the remaining companies. The most severe sanction, namely the dissolution of the legal person, was imposed by the court on two defendant companies – Havese and ML Compet.

Rath was already serving a final seven-year sentence imposed on him for influencing tenders for the reconstruction of Buštěhrad Castle in the Kladno region. The former politician was paroled in January this year. The Kotts are also free.

Video: David Rath was released from Brno-Bohunice prison in early January

David Rath released from Brno-Bohunice prison. | Video: CTK

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