An alleged fraud that made headlines a few years ago involving an apartment building called Glance House in the village of Bernolákovo near Bratislava did not take place as the prosecutor, Dobroslav Trnka, claimed, a fresh verdict by the Bratislava II District Court found on January 29.
The court thus exonerated businessman Robert Číž and his wife Adriana, who allegedly attempted to acquire the company that constructed and owned the building fraudulently. Meanwhile, the ownership structure in the company has remained unclear, stated the judge.
The case also concerned well-known businessman Marián Kočner, the Sme daily wrote. In 2012, former general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka allegedly allowed the transfer of plots on which Glance House stood to firms affiliated with his crony Kočner – despite the fact that all moves concerning the land had been suspended by the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
The most recent verdict shows that prosecutor (former general prosecutor) Trnka was wrong when he ordered the transfer of the disputed building to a company close to Kočner.
The Bratislava II District Court found that the transfer did not take place the way the Prosecutor General’s Office described it; and it acquitted the original developers, Robert Číž and his wife, who request their claims to the development complex.
Glance House: Complex, protracted court case
This is another verdict in a complex case protracted for seven years between the Číž's and their ex-business partner Jana Šlachtová, also a crony of Kočner. After the Glance House ownership was blocked by judicial authorities due to the dispute, those suffering the most have been the prospective owners of the flats themselves.
Back in 2012, Trnka ordered the head of cadastral office in Senec, Igor Svitek, to violate the earlier court ruling and unblock the transfer of Glance House. Due to this, Svitek lost his job and is now charged with abuse of powers of public official.
It is curious, though, that Trnka is still working for the Prosecutor General’s Office, Sme wrote.
The prosecutor immediately appealed the January 29 acquitting verdict and insists that the Číž's wanted to fraudulently acquire the firm that built Glance House. But Judge Roman Farkaš stated that so far he has failed to prove this.
“I cannot comment on this now, and I see no reason to do it either, since I have not read the charge. Nor the argumentation of the verdict,” Trnka told Sme.
On his part, Kočner stressed on the phone that he has repeatedly refused to communicate with the daily.
Who are the real victims?
The apartment building itself got stuck in a complex mess of lawsuits and court cases. Thus, the real victims of this case are people who had already paid advance sums for the individual flats: despite the development being finished and approved already back in 2010, they still cannot move in.
“As a client of Glance House, I consider today’s court ruling a confirmation that the prosecutor’s office is not on the side of ordinary people,” František Horváth, one of the deceived clients, said. He explains that although the Glance House company is now in bankruptcy proceedings and his claim has been acknowledged, due to delays and obstructions in court trials, he will surely not get his money back in the upcoming years.