A higher-instance court decided on November 6 in the case of defrauded and scrapped Olympic Games for the hearing-impaired, the Deaflympics, that was to take place in Slovakia in 2011, sentencing the former chairman of the Deaflympic Committee to 14 years and 6 months in prison.
The Specialised Criminal Court in Pezinok, Banská Bystrica branch, thus overruled the earlier verdict of the Banská Bystrica District Court from November 2012 and the Banská Bystrica Regional Court verdict from July 2013. The latest verdict is not yet effective, and although the defendant has not appealed, the prosecutor can still contest it, the TASR newswire wrote.
[Former Slovak Deaflympic Committee chief Jaromír Ruda had been previously convicted by a first-instance court and sentenced to thirteen years on charges of embezzling €1.6 million that had been designated for the 2011 Winter Deaflympics. The 17th Winter Deaflympics was supposed to be held in the High Tatras in February 2011 but was cancelled days before their planned start date when it was discovered that most of the venues had not been completed. Ruda was subsequently arrested by police while apparently attempting to flee the country.]
The Sme daily wrote that Ruda has already served part of the sentence, having been detained since February 2011. It also specified the amount embezzled at €12 million in total, adding that apart from the financial damage, Ruda – himself of impaired hearing – caused stultification and embarrassed Slovakia as the organising state. Disabled athletes already begun arriving for the games when they learned that the event had been cancelled and they have to return home.
Sme wrote that Ruda accepted the verdict without emotion, knowing he might have been sentenced to 20 years in prison. His lawyer argues that Ruda really wanted to organise the Deaflympics but merely failed to manage it. The prosecutor, however, stressed that the defendant took money, e.g. from Ukrainian athletes, at a time when he already knew the games could never take place.
(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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