In December 2020, the Municipal Court in Prague ended a large corruption case relating to Czech railways and HSR (VRT). Six people were handed suspended sentences, while Sudop Praha itself was acquitted. The public prosecutor appealed the leniency of the sentences.
The case was about criminal offences in relation to two contracts of the Railway Administration from 2015: Technical-operational study – Technical solutions of the VRT and design contracts for the revitalization of the Chlumec nad Cidlinou – Trutnov line.
A large police raid took place in 2016 at the Railway Authority (Sprava Zeleznic) and in some companies involved in these contracts.
All those sentenced received suspended sentences: five for breaches of competition rules.
Sprava Zeleznic’s then-chief construction engineer and chairman of the evaluation committee, Pavel Suk, received a suspended two-year prison sentence for “the crime of obtaining an advantage when awarding a public contract“.
SUDOP Praha’s Commercial Director and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2015, Petr Lapáček, received an 18-month prison sentence suspended for 3 years and was banned from serving as a company director for three years.
SUDOP Praha employee Helena Mazancová, who was Lapáček’s subordinate, was given a six-month suspended sentence.
The former CEO of the Railway Research Institute (VÚŽ) Antonín Blažek received a sentence of 9 months as did his former colleague, board member Petr Kaván.
Lukáš Hruboň from the design company Valbek also received a 9-month sentence.
In the end, the punishments are significantly milder than those suggested by the public prosecutor, who appealed immediately. SUDOP Praha was acquitted although they were also prosecuted.
The prosecutor sought punishment for several crimes, including damage to the EU’s financial interests and/or acceptance of a bribe. Due to the severity of the matter, the defendants faced up to ten years in prison.
SUDOP Praha prepared the feasibility study for the Prague-Brno-Breclav VRT route which has just been signed off by the Ministry of Transport.