Defense ministry corruption trial has started


The trial of 52 defendants accused of manipulating state tenders at the Defense Ministry began Monday morning at the Regional Court in České Budejovice, South Bohemia. Eleven former employees of the Defense Ministry, 38 representatives of private businesses, two notaries and a lawyer are being accused of influencing reconstruction tenders worth 300 million crowns in five different cities. Ninety minutes after the beginning of trial, almost all of the defense lawyers left the court room in protest, claiming that the conditions were not appropriate for trying the case. The largest court room in the regional court could barely fit all of the persons involved in the trial, and defense lawyers complained of having little room at their desk. The trial may last for as long as a year, a member of the judging panel has said.