Police Raid Brno-Centre Town Hall In Fraud Investigation of Former Mayor of Rojetin
In a nearly 24-hour operation at Brno-Centre Town Hall that started on Monday morning, detectives reportedly obtained more than 100 pieces of evidence related to the fraud investigation into Pavel Hubálek, former Mayor of the South Moravian town of Rojetín in South Moravia, Novinky.cz reported yesterday. Photo credit: KK / Brno Daily.
Brno, Aug 14 (BD) – On Monday morning, detectives from the National Headquarters against Organized Crime [“Národní centrály proti organizovanému zločinu”] conducted a raid of the Brno-Centre Town Hall, which lasted nearly 24 hours, until Tuesday morning. According to Právo, the police confiscated more than 100 pieces of evidence, mostly documents related to the case of former Rojetín Mayor Pavel Hubálek (Independent, supported by KDU-ČSL and Independents for Rojetín), who is under investigation for fraud involving Brno city flats. The investment, economic, housing and real estate management departments were closed during the raid.
Právo reported that only Hubálek’s name and activities, that allegedly earned him millions of crowns, appeared in the documents obtained in the raid. The evidence included old leases and other documents related to municipal flats. Some of the documents had to be retrieved from the archives, as the case goes back as far as 2010.
Reports in Hospodářské Noviny on Monday had suggested that the police intervention was related to high-ranking Brno ODS politicians who had been implicated by Hubálek, including Brno Mayor Markéta Vaňková, Council Member for Investment Robert Kerndl, and former Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blažek. However, Právo reported that there was no connection with any ODS politicians.
Talking to CTK, Vaňková rejected any suggestion of wrong-doing, and questioned the timing of Hubálek’s claims: “We reject and deny all accusations. It is strange that [Hubálek] began to testify only after the change in administration in Brno in 2018, although it supposedly relates to the period from 2010 to 2014, which he could have informed police about long ago.” She went on to suggest that the accusations were politically motivated to coincide with the regional elections in October.
The police explained the need for the raid, which they had described as urgent, on the grounds that they could not have requested the documents in the normal way, as any advance knowledge that the documents were being sought would have allowed them to be destroyed, or caused a leak to the media. Hubálek’s statement, for example, in which he mentions ODS politicians in connection with corruption, leaked from a police dossier to the media months ago.
In June 2018, the police accused Hubálek of illegally taking tens of millions of crowns from people to whom he had offered mediation in the purchase of a city apartment in Brno. The police were at the time aware of 15 cases, and have since continued looking for possible further victims. If convicted of fraud exceeding CZK 5 million crowns, Hubálek faces up to ten years in prison.
A separate serious corruption case at Brno-Centre Town Hall was reported in spring 2019, related to allegedly manipulated public contracts involving Brno business figures and former members of the ANO Movement, including former Deputy Mayor for investment, Jiří Švachula. Eleven people have been charged in that case, with charges including participation in organized crime groups, the payment of bribes connected with public procurement, and other bribery offenses.