Pavol Krupa Milos Zeman

Matt Atlas

The Untouchables: Will Zeman’s Cronies Ever Face Prosecution?

In August and September 2021, a key proceeding took place at an American court regarding the lawsuit filed by Zdenek Bakala against a Slovak-Czech businessman and friend of President Milos Zeman, Pavel Krupa. The result mirrors the situation in Czech politics and the media. A detailed 17-page statement of reasons for Judge David Norton’s judgment describes in detail the extortion campaign that Pavol Krupa “initiated, co-operated, financed and managed” against Bakala since 2016.

According to the court, the campaign lasted for more than five years in Europe and the United States, and from the beginning severely damaged Mr. Bakala’s reputation and business contacts by organizing demonstrations, email and Facebook protests, as well as threatening and sending mendacious letters to his business partners.

Krupa knew what was going on

Bakala has been forced to file a number of lawsuits over time to clear his name in several countries. All of them were won and Baklala withstood even the harshest attack of Krupa’s company Arca Capital, a completely meaningless criminal complaint. The Czech Public Prosecutor’s Office did not investigate anything, but immediately requested an investigation into a particularly serious crime from the Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office through international legal assistance.

The Swiss court therefore immediately blocked Mr. Bakala’s bank accounts. The Czech Public Prosecutor’s Office then became silent, and when, even after two years, it was unable to present evidence and explain the reasons for its request to its Swiss colleagues, the Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office and the courts cancelled the request.

The American court stated that Krupa “knew what was happening at every moment of the campaign” and proved that the harshest threats of physical liquidation appeared on a Facebook account on the domain, established and registered somewhat carelessly directly by Krupa’s company Arca Capital. Among other things, calls for “shooting, hanging, beheading and quartering” of Zdenek Bakala repeatedly appeared on the account’s page.

Judge Norton said the compensation of more than $32 million represented “only a fraction of the actual losses” suffered by Bakala’s family, himself and his business.

Moreover, the court also commented on the procedural steps by Pavol Krupa, who first hired a large American law firm to defend him, only to cancel the deal after a while. He subsequently told the court that he would defend himself. Eventually, he stopped communicating with the court.

The Honorable Judge Norton did his best to explain his procedural duties and each step of the trial, but as he wrote in the verdict, Mr. Krupa “despite early warnings did not come to the proceedings, nor did he send any evidence.” He stated at several points in the verdict that it was contempt of court, which is a criminal offense in American court practice.

What is possible within (alleged) rule of law

During the search behind the scenes of this case, obtained a number of documents, mainly from Czech institutions, which could explain these strange procedural tactics to Judge Norton. Mr. Krupa gave up the trial when it was clear that he had lost. His closest American collaborator and professional organizer of riots, demonstrations and other actions against Zdenek Bakala, Adam Swart, provided the court with a full confession, including evidence of extensive communication and commands from Mr. Krupa.

There is also a signed confession of a Czech mediator, through whom Krupa openly offered Bakala to end all campaigns if he paid him five hundred million CZK. In such an obvious situation, Krupa could not, at any cost, risk being heard by a court. What if someone, under threat of punishment for contempt of court or a false statement under oath, asked him for what Czech President Zeman had given him a state award?

The facts about the personal involvement of Czech President Milos Zeman and Minister of Justice Marie Benesova in the campaign against Zdenek Bakala were not allowed to be mentioned at an American court.

Judge Norton would have a hard time understanding that in an alleged rule of law, the Czech President could personally threaten the shareholders of a private company with criminal prosecution for four different crimes if they did not hand over part of their property to the Czech state, free of charge, and run the company according to the President’s wishes.

In a decent country a fraud and extortionist would be put to trial. In a country, where the president who started the whole charade is a fraud and extortionist himself, it won’t be that easy.

And he certainly would not believe that the present Minister of Justice Benesova said that “she had investigated and drafted documentation regarding four cases concerning NWR: alleged bankruptcy of OKD, fraudulent declaration of coal reserves, fraudulent transfer of housing portfolio by government to NWR, money laundering through Modrava municipality.”

In the language of criminal law, this is called extortion. It took place on September 24th 2013 at the Prague Castle. At a press conference immediately after the meeting, the President said with a smile that he “hopes that Mr. Bakala will not end up like Viktor Kozeny”.

A week later on October 1st Marie Benesova sent a letter to the Prosecutor General with an illegal request to investigate, where any case connected to OKD is being investigated, which the proactive office immediately understood as a criminal complaint, which it communicated to the High Public Prosecutor Lenka Bradacova on October 7th. And the machinery started working. The Minister knew well what she was talking about when she sighed in the past that “it is possible to order a criminal prosecution in this country.”

On the basis of an American verdict alone, the Czech Public Prosecutor’s Office could, and should, open an investigation into the criminal case against Pavol Krupa. There is more than enough evidence.

Extortion, the organization and proven funding of the campaign against Bakala, and the threat of death, should be enough.

Put the blackmailer on trial

However, the Czech Public Prosecutor’s Office will never dare to do so and will pretend to be blind and deaf in the face of this clear evidence. After all, Krupa is a friend of President Milos Zeman, who gave him a state award in 2018 for his “fight against an economic fu*ker” (against Zdenek Bakala).

He did not mind at all that only eight months earlier, the Czech National Bank had officially identified Pavol Krupa as an untrustworthy person and barred him from managing a financial institution subject to the CNB’s control for ten years.

There is no worse disgrace among financiers. Now there is a US court decision ordering Krupa to pay more than $32 million to Zdenek Bakala for extortion and other crimes. In a decent country a fraud and extortionist would be put to trial. In a country, where the president who started the whole charade is a fraud and extortionist himself, it won’t be that easy.

After the parliamentary elections, which will take place in 10 days, the new MPs should return to the question of whether a person who despises the rule of law is capable of being a president.

This article first appeared on Hildaci Pes.