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Ruda sentenced to 13 years in prison

A Slovak court has delivered the first definitive verdict in the case of misuse of money which should have been used to hold the 17th Winter Deaflympics in February 2011. The appellate senate of the Banská Bystrica Regional Court found Jaromír Ruda, the former head of the Slovak Deaflympic Committee, guilty of fraud and sentenced him to 13 years in prison, the SITA newswire reported on July 23.

A Slovak court has delivered the first definitive verdict in the case of misuse of money which should have been used to hold the 17th Winter Deaflympics in February 2011. The appellate senate of the Banská Bystrica Regional Court found Jaromír Ruda, the former head of the Slovak Deaflympic Committee, guilty of fraud and sentenced him to 13 years in prison, the SITA newswire reported on July 23.

Ruda’s accomplice, Košice notary Stanislav Furda, was found guilty of violating the rules when dealing with someone else’s property and sentenced him to 16 months in prison. Ruda’s lawyer Juraj Remšík said his clients would launch a special appeal to the Supreme Court, SITA reported.

Both men originally faced charges of embezzling money which Ruda received from Bratislava-based company Transkontakt as a guarantee for organising the Deaflympics. In April 2008 the company gave Ruda Sk52 million (more than €1.7 million), which it should have received back in three weeks, with interest. Ruda passed the money to Furda, who, based on Ruda's instructions, then transferred it to various accounts. Ruda later withdrew it in cash and used it for different purposes. He returned to Transkontakt only Sk3.5 million (just over €100,000), causing the company losses of €1.6 million, SITA wrote.

The first-instance district court found both men guilty of embezzlement and sentenced Ruda to 13 years and Furda to 14 years in prison. Both men appealed to the regional court, which accepted their claim and returned the case to the district court in January 2012. However, the district court then delivered a second verdict identical to its original one. That was in turn challenged by both Ruda and Furda, with the notary claiming that he had only followed Ruda’s instructions.

The appellate senate accepted Furda’s complaint and reclassified the crime, which resulted in Furda's sentence being reduced to 16 months in prison, plus a three-year ban on working as a notary, SITA reported.

Ruda also faces charges at the Specialised Criminal Court for fraud. Beginning in March 2010, Ruda deceived at least four private companies with whom he signed contracts of cooperation, police alleged in 2011. The deals were meant to result in the reconstruction of ice-hockey stadiums in Kežmarok and Poprad, two towns near the High Tatra mountains.

The companies lent at least €10 million to Ruda, who declared that he would invest the money in reconstruction and guaranteed the loans with a €500,000 bank guarantee from the Bank of Columbia. Police say that the bank guarantee was false, with no real coverage from the bank, which is based in the United States.

Though Ruda promised to return the money, none has yet been forthcoming, SITA reported.

According to the police, Ruda also extracted at least €1 million from representatives of national deaf sports federations which he failed to use for the purposes declared. Ruda reportedly told the representatives of the federations that if they sent their payments for accommodation, catering and other costs to the account of the Slovak Deaflympic Committee they would pay less than if they sent the money directly to hotels.

The games were only cancelled, in early 2011, after deaf competitors had started arriving with their supporters from as far afield as Canada, only to discover that their accommodation had not been reserved and that the sports facilities where they were supposed to compete were unfinished and unusable.

Source: SITA

For more information about this story please see: Appellate court orders new trial in Deaflympics case

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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