The former head of the Czech football association, František Chvalovský, has been sentenced to ten years in prison after being convicted of credit fraud. Mr Chvalovský was once a major figure in Czech football, but has spent the last 10 years trying – so far unsuccessfully – to defend himself from fraud charges.
Prague’s Municipal Court ruled on Tuesday that František Chvalovský and four others gave false details to the Komerční Banka bank when applying for an 88 million dollar bank loan. The false information was given on two occasions, in 1998 and 1999, and the funds were used not for a business venture but to pay off existing debts. Martina Lhotáková is the court’s spokeswoman.
“The defendants submitted false information when applying for the loan. The defendants also failed to use the funds for the purposes stated in the application. The initial legal proceedings took far too long: the criminal case against the defendants had to be amended three times because of errors in it.”
The court ruled that Mr Chvalovský and his co-defendants must compensate the bank for the damage caused by the credit fraud. Mr Chvalovský, who denies the allegations, appealed against the verdict. He didn’t appear in court, but his lawyer Jindřich Reichl spoke to reporters afterwards.
“There hasn’t been one wise decision during this entire case, so I wouldn’t expect one now at the close of it. As for my client’s future plans, no matter how this court case is resolved, I can assure you he has no intention of returning to football.”
František Chvalovský was chairman of the Czech FA until 2001, overseeing a period in which the Czech Republic got to the finals of the European Championships. However observers say the period was one marked by high-level corruption in the sport, claims it still hasn’t shaken off. Mr Chvalovský was eventually arrested at Prague’s Ruzyně Airport as he was about to board a plane to Macedonia with the national team for a friendly match, and later spent 10 months in pre-trial detention. He was fired from the post in 2001.
There have even been claims Mr Chvalovský intends to seek re-election to the post of Czech FA chairman; as his lawyer Jindřich Reichl says, there is no truth in them. Mr Reichl, however, is the body’s deputy chairman, and he is standing.
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