The district court in Bratislava has found businessman Ladislav Bašternák guilty of tax and insurance fraud and evasion on November 7, sentencing him to five years in prison in the case of an unjustified VAT refund. At the same time, he cannot perform any business activity for the same period.
The court issued the verdict after a less than two-hour proceeding, the Sme daily reported.
However, the ruling is not valid yet since Bašternák’s lawyer has appealed. Both the businessman and prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, Marián Varga, declined to comment on the verdict.
Bašternák pleaded guilty
Bašternák came to the court in person, accompanied by his lawyer Peter Filip. He refused to make any media statements before the trial. Yet, he admitted to committing the crime to judge Mária Szabóová.
“I’m guilty,” Bašternák said, as quoted by Sme.
As he admitted to the crime, no further substantiation was required. The court thus moved on to reading final speeches.
Varga put forth a proposal that Bašternák would lose all his fortune but spend his sentence in a lower-security prison. He added that the court should furthermore take into account his repeated traffic misdemeanours.
However, Bašternák’s lawyer, Peter Filip, considered the proposal inadequate. He stressed his client has already returned €2 million to the state, already in January, Sme wrote.
“I thus suggest that my client be freed as the crime has ceased to exist,” Filip said, as quoted by Sme.
The tax office in Trenčín is still demanding that Bašternák pay €242,000, the rest of the VAT refund he had received.
He already expressed regret
Bašternák bought seven flats, via the BL-202 firm in 2012, in Bratislava’s Five Star Residence apartment complex for €12 million, as the investigation showed.
Their actual value was reportedly much lower. Bašternák, according to an investigator, thus claiming, without reason, VAT refunds of €2 million.
As soon as he was accused, he applied the active repentance principle, paying the sum back to the state. Despite this, a criminal complaint was filed against him.