Thursday, September 24, 2009

Czech detained over fraud in Costa Rica

San Jose - (Ceske Noviny) Costa Rican authorities have detained Karel Ponocny, a former Czech Finance Ministry official who was sentenced for fraudulent dealing with the Peruvian debt in 2006 in the Czech Republic, but escaped from the country before the verdict was delivered, Costa Rican media has said.

Ponocny was detained on the basis of an Interpol warrant of arrest in his flat at the San Jose outskirts. Ponocny's arrest was broadcast by Costa Rican television.

Ponocny, who put up no resistance while being detained, was in charge of exacting debts from abroad, among others from Peru, at the ministry. However, the debt from Peru was not to be exacted since the sum had been deposited on a bank account a long time ago.

Ponocny and his accomplice, entrepreneur Anton Murarik, masterminded a grand fraud. Murarik's company took the reward for exacting the money amounting to 95 percent of the sum, while the ministry received the remaining 5 percent, or 2.3 million crowns. Most of the money ended up abroad.

Ponocny and Murarik were also fined one million crowns each and they must cover the damage of 43 million crowns, incurred by the Czech Republic.

Ponocny has reportedly lived in Costa Rica since 2004 and after he married a local woman, he had acquired Costa Rican citizenship.

($1 = 17.073 crowns)

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