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Supreme Court abolished verdict for Vareha

THE SUPREME Court abolished a verdict for Mikuláš Vareha, dubbed the “Lord of Zemplín” by Slovak media, whose 11 firms conducted, among other things, unusual trade in bark beetles, the Etrend.sk website reported on November 15.

THE SUPREME Court abolished a verdict for Mikuláš Vareha, dubbed the “Lord of Zemplín” by Slovak media, whose 11 firms conducted, among other things, unusual trade in bark beetles, the Etrend.sk website reported on November 15.

The Specialised Criminal Court sentenced him in April to 11 years in prison for VAT and other tax and insurance payment evasions that deprived the state of €58.1 million in revenue. The court also imposed a personal €100,000 fine on Vareha. Vareha claimed he was innocent and appealed the verdict.

The Supreme Court accepted the complaint, calling it “partially founded”, and returned the case to the Specialised Criminal Court. The Supreme Court questioned several steps the court had made. It criticised, for example, that the court “used the evidence which were not made in compliance with law”. Moreover, the Specialised Court allegedly did not observe the law when it forced Vareha’s lawyers to be present when reading the verdict, though Vareha had abolished their mandate only few days before issuing it, as reported by Etrend.sk.

The Supreme Court also said that the Specialised Court judges did not allow Vareha’s new lawyer to make a closing argument, the website wrote.

Vareha, 51, was convicted of committing tax evasion between 2008 and 2011, mainly in Trebišov district in eastern Slovakia, where he claimed to have traded 55.3 million tree grafts and 414.2 million bark beetles, according to the Office of the Special Prosecutor. In November 2012 Vareha claimed the bark beetles, which are normally regarded as a major tree parasite, were used as food for pheasants, the TASR newswire reported in April 2013.

Source: Etrend.sk, TASR

For more information about this story please see: 'Lord of Zemplín' found guilty

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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