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On Wednesday, the trial begins in court, which is extraordinary in several respects.
The somewhat mysterious billionaire Petr Sisák will play the role of the defendant. A man who controls the chemical company Spolchemie and hardly ever appears in public.
Together with Sisák, five lawyers, a female judge, an insolvency administrator, an accountant and several people who the police identified as white horses will stand before the court. A total of 16 people and five companies are indicted.
All this in a very complicated case, in which the prosecution wants to prove that Petr Sisák et al. they influenced court decisions behind the scenes, bribed or carried out machinations through tax havens. And this is so that they don’t have to pay hundreds of millions to the creditors from whom they borrowed money for the business.
The police investigated the case for eight years, first covertly and then with the main actors in the role of accused. The indictment, which Seznam Zprávy obtained, has exactly 600 pages, which is a very rare scope.
According to the indictment, the public prosecutor also demands very high sentences for the leading figures in the case: 13 years and a fine of 20 million. A complete list of defendants can be found at the end of this article.
The case concerns the period of 2013 and 2014. Sisák’s company Via Chem Group, through which he controlled the chemical company Spolchemie, used bonds to borrow two billion for further development. It needed the money, for example, for new technologies, thanks to which the leading manufacturer of epoxy and resins would open the way to other interesting shops.
But the company found itself in the dark, it ran out of money, it had no creditors to pay, and there were proposals to declare insolvency. This means that the court would declare Via Chem Group bankrupt and the creditors would decide on the next fate.
“The company was unprofitable, it was a company completely in debt and financed mainly by issued bonds that were not properly repaid,” the indictment quotes the opinion of a court expert who dissected the economic side of the company for the police.
Prosecution: The judge was a puppet
Therefore, according to the police, businessman Sisák commissioned his closest associate and lawyer Ivo Hala to avert this threat.
“Just as in other acts, the role of JUDr. can be defined. Petr Sisák as a man in the background, who decided everything, but did not bear any responsibility, because all actions in his favor and on the basis of his decisions were carried out by his subordinate Mgr. Ing. Ivo Hala and lawyers subordinate to Mgr. Ing. To Ivo Hal. That is the role of JUDr. Petr Sisák more dangerous,” mentions the indictment drawn up by public prosecutor Adam Borgula.
The indictment claims that in order to avert imminent insolvency, they first formally moved the company’s headquarters to České Budějovice. That the insolvency petition be dealt with by the local regional court.
When the specific proposals were rejected, according to the indictment, Hala arranged with judge Maria Červinková that the bankruptcy was not declared. For this, the lawyer Hala is charged with the rarely seen crime of “interfering with the independence of the court”. Judge Červinková for abuse of authority.
The indictment says that Hala agreed with Červinková that he would reject the insolvency proposals. And he even prescribed her and imported the relevant decision on a flash drive, as the police found out from both texts.
“From the aforementioned comparison, it was found that JUDr. Marie Červinková only amended the submitted resolution without changing its substance. Entire parts of the resolutions are identical or very minimal differences were noted,” the indictment states.
“Does the deal stand?” is heard on the wiretaps
According to the indictment, something similar was then repeated in other insolvency proposals filed by the Prague 10 and Prague 6 districts, which held Via Chem Group bonds worth 200 million and feared for their investments.
The wiretaps also captured Hal making sure with the judge that the agreement on the rejection of insolvency is valid. “The judge should not be a puppet in the hands of one of the participants in the court proceedings,” the public prosecutor points out in the indictment.
Defendant Maria Červinková is 75 years old today, she has not been a judge for years. Her lawyer Miroslav Kříženecký says that her entire prosecution is nonsense.
“Maria and I are classmates. And I swear: Neither of us can put a flash drive into a computer, let alone copy anything from it to a computer. Our generation simply won’t learn some things,” said the lawyer for Seznam Zprávy.
He also added that the development of Spolchemie’s economy proved Judge Červinková to be right: Because the company did not fall into insolvency, in the end the creditors got back much more money – because they really managed to start new, modern technologies with the help of loans and subsidies.
“So what did Dr. Červinková commit that was so socially dangerous?” asked Kříženecký.
Neither Hala nor Sisák commented on the indictment at the request of Seznam Zpráv.
A driver like a white horse
In another case described by the indictment, Petr Sisák and Ivo Hala diverted the shares of Via Chem Group so that other creditors could not access them – a total of 1.1 million shares, which were secured by various companies from Belize, the British Virgin Islands or Cyprus. According to the indictment, this happened through fabricated loan agreements, promissory notes and falsified accounting documents.
According to the findings of the police, who obtained information from, for example, the local authorities, the businessman Sisák himself controlled these offshore companies. And this through white horses, for example through his driver Antonín Franc, who is also among the defendants (by the way, in 2011, Franc surprisingly appeared as the official owner of football club Slavia, even then it was obvious that he was just a figure pushed to the fore by the real owner). Another was Sisák’s sparring partner from boxing.
“There is no direct evidence of the participation of JUDr. Petr Sisák at this meeting. However, a chain of indirect evidence points to the role of JUDr. Petr Sisák as the man in the background, for whose benefit the operation was carried out,” the indictment reads.
In addition to white horses, according to the indictment, Petr Sisák also used a network of friendly lawyers who worked for him. The police claim that he also “bought” an insolvency administrator. In 2014, Via Chem Group really fell into insolvency, Sisák and Hala should have arranged for Vladimíra Jechová Vápeníková to become the administrator.
According to the indictment, with her help and the help of other lawyers, various key documents were amended so that Via Chem Group’s creditors, i.e. again the Prague district or, for example, the town hall in Sokolov, would not receive money from the bonds.
According to the indictment, administrator Jechová Vápeníková also deliberately did not file a lawsuit against the aforementioned transfers of shares to offshore companies. And when the cities complained that they were playing into Sisák’s hands, they wrote an official statement to the court that they did not feel biased.
Even her lawyer Roman Jelínek referred to the economic result: Via Chem Group under administrator Jechová Vápeníková did not end up in bankruptcy. The court allowed him a so-called reorganization. This means that the company’s assets are not sold to pay debts, and the company can continue to operate under strict conditions.
“Essential to the assessment of the matter is the undisputed fact that Via Chem Group’s creditors were better satisfied in the reorganization than they would have been in bankruptcy. However, the prosecution is silent on this fact. With regard to the above, the client refuses to act outside the legal framework as an insolvency administrator, to act specifically for the benefit of a party to the proceedings or on the instructions of an unauthorized person,” added attorney Jelínek.
The last part of the case concerns the still very complex transactions surrounding Sisák’s companies, football club Slavia and its then owner Aleš Řebíček, the Minister of Transport for the ODS in Topolánek’s government. Criminal investigators mapped out that Sisák’s group defrauded Řebíček of 25 million.
“He feels damaged and wants to return the money, and he doesn’t care who,” the indictment quotes from Řebíček’s interrogation at the police.
Defendants in the case of businessman Petr Sisák
- Petr Sisak – owner of the company Via Chem Group, controlling the chemical company Spolchemie
- Ivo Hala – lawyer, insolvency administrator and Sisák’s close associate
- Antonín Franc – Sisák’s driver, according to the police a white horse
- Francis Koch – Sisák’s associate
- Jiří Hanzlík – Sisák’s accountant
- Milan Kučerík – attorney
- Jan Pacovsky – attorney
- Tomas Machotka – Sisák’s associate, according to the police a white horse
- Petr Kovařík – attorney
- Marie Červinková – judge of the Regional Court in České Budějovice
- Vladimíra Jechová Vápeníková – insolvency administrator
- Petr Liska – according to the police, Sisák’s white horse
- Robert Vladyka – attorney
- Michal Jüngling – manager of Spolchemie
- Pogo – accounting company
- Via Chem Group – Sisák’s company controlling the chemical company Spolchemie
- Social chemistry – Sisák’s company, whose development was financed by bonds
- VJV Insolvency – a company belonging to the administrator Jechová Vápeníková
- HS facility – law office of Iva Hala