NEWS IN SHORT

Another pyramid scheme manager sentenced

THE FORMER owner of the non-licensed deposit company AGW, Matúš Grega, has been jailed for 8.5 years and fined Sk2 million (€61,600) on fraud charges. It follows a plea bargain between Grega and the prosecutor, approved on April 21 by the Special Court.

THE FORMER owner of the non-licensed deposit company AGW, Matúš Grega, has been jailed for 8.5 years and fined Sk2 million (€61,600) on fraud charges. It follows a plea bargain between Grega and the prosecutor, approved on April 21 by the Special Court.

The prosecutor's office stated that the company stripped more than 26,000 people of almost Sk2.5 billion (€77 million).

"The court assessed the agreement reached as appropriate and just," the judge said, according to the ČTK newswire.

The new Penal Code from 2005 allows for bargains to be struck concerning guilt and punishment without trial. If the defendant pleads guilty, the resulting sentence can be lower than if there had been a trial. For example, Grega faced a sentence of up to 12 years. He did not comment on the bargain or the verdict as police led him handcuffed from the court.

AGW was a non-licensed deposit company which, before its bankruptcy in 2002, attracted deposits by promising returns ranging from 13.8 percent to 39.7 percent according to the length of deposit. Initially the system worked: however, it later became clear it was operating as a pyramid scheme, with interest being paid out of new savers' deposits and without any real profit being generated.
Claims by clients of AGW have been referred to the civil courts. They continue to demand that their deposits be returned to them.

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