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Powerful Prague lobbyist with political ties arrested

13. 2. 2014 17:22
Police arrested Ivo Ritting, lobbyist with ties to Civic Democratic Party, and charged him with money laundering

Prague - The anti-corruption police unit arrested Prague-based lobbyist Ivo Ritting on Thursday morning and charged him over his alleged role in a fraud related to the state-run Prague Public Transit Company (DPP). His lawyer David Michal and two other people were also arrested. All of them have been charged with money laundering.

"Four people have been arrested today in a criminal case related to the Prague transit company," state prosecutor Lenka Bradacova told Aktualne.cz.

The arrest was first reported by iDnes.cz. Just a few hours before the arrest, Rittig told state-run Czech Television that he suspected he was going to be arrested.

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In 2013, the anti-corruption police started prosecution against five people over the same criminal case, including former DPP chief executive Martin Dvorak, Neograph printing company board chairman Jan Janku, Rittig's business partner Petr Kmet, and former DPP senior manager Ivo Stika. 

Dvorak told Aktualne.cz that he is not among the people arrested today.

The alleged fraud related to the DPP was first revealed by the Anti-corruption Endowment Fund (NFPK). The organization said that Rittig had received CZK 0.17 from each Prague public transport ticked sold,  via a complicated chain of companies. The tickets were supplied to DPP by Neograph.

Rittig eventually filed a criminal complaint against the NFPK, but a Prague court rejected the complaint, arguing that the NFPK had proved the veracity of its statements.

Neograph trade director Vladimir Sitta recently confirmed to Czech Television that his company had transferred tens of millions of korunas to Cokeville Assets, a British Virgin Islands-based company. The NKPF said that Cokeville Assets was linked to Rittig.

Rittig is known for his ties with the right-wing Civic Democratic Party (ODS).

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autor: Radek Nohl, Karel Hrubes | 13. 2. 2014 17:22

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