The three-member panel of the Slovak Supreme Court (NS) confirmed the 11 year prison sentence handed to businessman Mikuláš Vareha, known as “The Lord of Zemplín (region)” in the case of tax and levies evasion in commodity trading, the TASR newswire wrote.
Vareha, 51, was found guilty by the senate of the Specialised Criminal Court in Banská Bystrica of VAT and other forms of tax and insurance fraud on January 24. The court thus upheld the original verdict, which had been overturned by the Supreme Court in November 2013. He was arrested by police on March 1, 2011. At the time he had been in business for 12 years and acted as the authorised representative of more than 70 firms trading in a wide variety of goods and commodities, including bark beetles, cowshed compost and wooden gates, according to the SITA newswire. Between 2007 and 2010, the state refunded €32,729,204 in VAT to the businessman, state officials said at the time of his arrest. He was convicted of committing tax evasion between 2008 and 2011, mainly in the 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 Special Prosecutor’s Office.
The Specialised Criminal Court sentenced Vareha in April 2013 to 11 years in prison for VAT and other forms of tax and insurance payment evasion that deprived the state of €58.1 million in revenue. The court also imposed a €100,000 personal fine on Vareha. Vareha appealed the verdict, claiming he was innocent. The Supreme Court accepted Vareha’s complaint in November 2013, calling it “partially founded”, and returned the case to the Specialised Criminal Court. The Supreme Court questioned several steps the court had made.
The recent verdict, rejecting the defendant’s appeal, is final – without any further remedy option – confirming the January ruling of the Specialised Court. However, the ruling that required Vareha to pay €100, 000 or go to jail for one year as an alternative sentence, was abolished, according to SITA.
(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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27. Feb 2014 at 14:00