The Presidential Office will file a criminal complaint against the Castle administration

Violations of competition rules, theft, embezzlement, or fraud. The Office of the President of the Republic (KPR) said it would file a criminal complaint over suspected property and economic crimes following an external audit at the Prague Castle Administration (SPH) on Monday.

In a press release, the KPR mentions some of the misconduct for which it holds former SPH director Ivo Velíšek and former director of the Lány Castle Department, Michaela Javůrková responsible.

In summary, these are suspected criminal offenses against specific individuals and as yet unidentified perpetrators, namely, violations of regulations on competition rules, misrepresentation of data on the state of management and assets, breach of duty in the direction of foreign property, theft, embezzlement, and fraud.

“In the coming months, the Castle will conduct a thorough inventory of internal regulations as well as the actual handling of SPH funds,” the Castle said.

According to the report, 15 findings were made, three of which were of high severity and seven of medium severity. For example, in the area of public procurement, it was found that the estimated value was wrongly determined, creating the risk of a meager tender price, an inappropriate way of submitting tenders, or an incorrect entry in the register of contracts.

The astonished Velíšek

“I am not surprised, but I am amazed. I don’t want to comment yet; I will wait for the competent authorities to take a stand. Now it is important to show the truth. I think everyone will make their picture of what this means or what is going on,” Ivo Velíšek, former director of SPH, commented on the criminal complaint.

He also said he did not want to draw emotions into the matter. “It should end on a factual level, to assess what they accuse me of and what they consider to be the subject of the criminal complaint,” he said.

Reconstruction of Vikarka and the alcohol problem

The suspicions at the Castle also concern alcohol. According to the report, there was an almost empty warehouse in Lány, with 20 bottles of alcohol a month being fictitiously written off for protocol purposes. Bottled alcohol from fruit produced in-house was also allegedly mishandled. There are also problems in the area of timber management.

The report also states that misconduct occurred, for example, when a staff member was supposed to keep the keys to the cash registers permanently, cash counting was poorly controlled, staff did not take leave by the Labour Code, or “toilet receipts were not recorded by location.”

In the case of the repairs and construction works in Vikářská Street, Velíšek said that, among other things, in flagrant violation of the Public Procurement Act, he failed to cancel the tender procedure when only one bidder had entered the process, an economic discrepancy was found between the technical survey and reality. A difference was found between the bid price and the estimated value of the contract.

“As the contracting authority, it established an inappropriate method of submitting bids by e-mail, which created room for favoring one supplier and manipulating information,” the press release said.

The company conducted the audit from December 22 to January 27 this year. “The work included assessing compliance with legal requirements and the set-up and operation of related processes,” the report says.

The SAO carried out a comprehensive audit at the Castle from March to September last year, whose final report is not yet available to the presidential office. According to the Hrad, the partial results of the SAO audit prompted Chancellor Vratislav Mynář to dismiss Velíšek in October and commission a supplementary external audit by BDO.

“Further measures can be expected when the KPR and SPH receive the final report on the audit results by the Supreme Audit Office (SAO),” the press release reads.