Czech Republic: Romani activist, on trial for fraud, rejects charges
Next month the trial in the matter of the Romani Civic Association Karlovy Vary (Romské občanské sdružení Karlovy Vary - ROS KV) is scheduled to take place. Alexandra Vaňková, spokesperson for the Regional Court in Plzeň, has confirmed the scheduling of the trial to the Czech daily Právo. The chair of the association, Ladislav Bílý, will be answering charges of subsidy fraud, for which he face up to 10 years in prison. Bílý previously told news server Romea.cz that he rejects the charges.
Bílý is alleged to have falsified various background materials and documents in order to win a public tender in the amount of not quite CZK 10 million. News server Novinky.cz reports that bureaucrats halted the disbursal of yet another CZK 10 million when they determined that some of the data in the application was untrue.
"These were financial contributions from the town, the regional authority, and the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, which were paid to the association between 2007 and 2010. The damage is quite extensive," Zbyněk Eger, Deputy Regional State Prosecutor in Plzeň, said in February.
"ROS KV was supposed to build an education center for Romani people in Karlovy Vary, according to the grant contract, but never did. No study room was ever created and no professional lecturers were ever hired," said Andrea Bocková, who was the spokesperson for the Karlovy Vary Regional Authority in February.
Ladislav Bílý told news server Romea.cz in February that he rejects all the charges. "This is a lie that has been orchestrated far in advance entirely for ulterior purposes. I am convinced that I am being targeted so my reputation will be destroyed. I have an idea of who specifically is behind this, but for the time being I am waiting to reveal that in court," Bílý said. He has stated that ROS KV never committed any fraud or theft.
"We were running in a completely normal way, everything went according to the projects. We were running a deficit, like almost all civic associations do when they wait at the start of the year for money from grants or subsidies, and we probably did violate budgetary discipline, but we did not commit fraud. Everything was in order according to the accountants. Moreover, we were being financially audited starting in 2007 at the latest, and those audits never revealed any fraud or theft because nothing of the sort was going on," Bílý told news server Romea.cz in February.
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