A federal judge in South Carolina has ruled that Slovak businessman Pavol Krúpa must pay more than $32.4 million (702 million crowns) to investor Zdeněk Bakala for leading a blackmail campaign against him. The court had previously ruled that Krúpa had been blackmailing Bakala for several years, demanding $23 million (500 million crowns) to end the harassment.
Judge David Norton said in a ruling that Krupa led an international defamation campaign against Bakala, which permanently damaged Bakala’s name and business interests. According to the court, Krúpa started its activities in Europe in 2016 and a year later he asked Bakala for a payment of 500 million crowns through an intermediary. He threatened that if he did not pay, he would transfer the campaign to the United States, where Bakala currently lives and does business.
According to the court, Bakala did not comply with Krúpa’s demands, after which the Slovak businessman followed through on his threats and hired an American company, which continued the campaign in the USA. There, for example, she organized a fake protest in front of the school where Bakala’s children go.
Krúpa stopped the campaign in October 2018, when Bakala filed a lawsuit against him in a US court. According to the judge, the Slovak businessman initially had a lawyer hired to represent him, but later began to appear in court on his own behalf. According to Judge Norton, he first communicated with the court, although he often sent the required documents late or did not meet legal requirements. The court recorded the last reaction from him in March last year and has not responded to further calls since. The judge then ruled in Bakala’s favor in August precisely because of Krupa’s absence.
“He had every opportunity to present his defense. However, Mr. Krupa treated the court and its rules with the same contempt he had shown of Mr. Bakala’s rights. At one point, Mr. Krupa apparently simply lost interest,” Norton said. he paid special attention to getting all the subpoenas to Krupa.
“No decision was delivered to me and I was not a participant in any proceedings,” Krúpa said. “I did not blackmail Bakala and his statement is fabricated and contrived,” he added.
The court ordered Krúpa to pay Bakala’s legal costs and also for damages to his reputation and business interests. In addition, he ordered him to pay a fine of $ 6.5 million (140.7 million crowns), which, according to the judge, is to discourage Krupa from similar actions in the future. Krupa declares himself a billionaire and the fine imposed will be sufficiently tangible for him, but at the same time, he will not ruin him, the judge notes.