Detectives from the National Headquarters against Organized Crime are having difficulties investigating serious crimes in the case surrounding the Celio landfill in Litvínov.
Reason? Two expert opinions are still not processed. They were originally supposed to be completed during this August.
But the police extended the deadline for the experts by almost one year. As Nauzal found out, they are now supposed to complete them by the end of July 2024. At the same time, supervising prosecutor Zdeněk Matula stated that the investigation cannot be completed without these reports.
At the beginning of last year, a total of nine people and two companies were charged in this case. Detectives accuse them not only of the crime of fraud, but also of general endangerment or endangerment and damage to the environment.
The first assessment, on which the investigation has now stalled, is to assess fire protection. The investigators assigned it to expert Václav Kratochvíl. The other is from the field of chemistry and nature conservation. It is to be prepared by Tomáš Ondrůšek.
Both agreed that they could not comment further on the case.
“I’d also like to know why it got stuck, but it would be better to contact the authorities. I can’t say anything more about it,” said Ondrůšek. “I will certainly not talk about my expert opinion. Don’t take it the wrong way, but I have some obligations as an expert,” said Kratochvíl again.
Jaroslav Ibehej, the spokesman of the National Central Office against Organized Crime, only stated that the criminal proceedings are at the stage of investigation. “We will not provide more information on the matter,” he added.
One of the aforementioned expert opinions should answer the important question of what was stored at the Celio landfill in the past. For this, according to the plaintiff, it is necessary to remove styrene barrels from the ground.
The company Celio, which owns the landfill, submitted a plan to deal with the dangerous barrels after the police raid. He wants to remove them at his own expense. According to prosecutor Matula, who oversees the case, the liquidation was also approved by two authorities: the Czech Environmental Inspection and the Regional Office of the Ústí Region. “We are now waiting for the decision of the construction authority in Litvínov,” said Matula.
When they make a decision in Litvínov, according to prosecutor Matula, samples will also be taken from the mentioned barrels. “As part of the removal, the police authority will carry out the collection of samples necessary for the completion of assigned expert opinions,” he added.
The Celio case in data
- Police officers from the National Headquarters against Organized Crime charged nine people and two companies in January 2022. Six people ended up in custody. The police accused them of the crime of fraud, but also of general endangerment or endangerment and damage to the environment.
- Former landfill director René Konečný was the first to leave custody. This happened after he started cooperating with the police. Finally, last summer, he entered into a plea agreement with the prosecutor, which was later confirmed by the court. Konečný was sentenced to three years in prison with a five-year suspension and must pay one million crowns.
- After more than a quarter of a year, the main suspect in the case, Daniel Kraft, was released from custody last year. However, before that he had to post a bail of 10 million crowns.
- This spring, Aquatest also entered into a plea agreement with the plaintiff. According to the agreement, which he confirmed in court, he is not allowed to do business with hazardous waste for 20 years and, in addition, he is not allowed to participate in competitions for public contracts for 10 years.
- The investigation continues to concern eight people and one company.
However, it is not yet clear when the Litvín authorities will make a decision. His spokesman Petr Lenc said that Litvínov also wants the barrels with this dangerous material to be taken away as quickly as possible and disposed of in an ecological way.
“We are actively cooperating with the Czech Environmental Inspection and together we are trying to find optimal ways to dispose of barrels containing styrene with minimal impact on the environment,” claims Lenc.
This case concerns the storage of highly hazardous waste at the Celio landfill in Litvínov. According to the findings of the environmental inspection and police investigators, barrels with highly flammable styrenes, which were transported here from the premises of Kaučuk Kralupa from Nelahozevsi, are buried here – as mentioned.
The Ministry of Finance issued a contract for the disposal of styrene, which was won by Aquatest. It offered the lowest price at the time (a little over 26.3 million crowns without VAT) and undertook to dispose of 4,692 tons of waste professionally and ecologically.
However, according to the findings of the authorities, the barrels were taken to the landfill without being modified and registered. In addition, as the indictment states, they were loaded with other waste so that they could not be detected. And everything was covered up with fictitious documents about proper liquidation.
The police documented that seven certificates for the disposal of approximately 2,170 tons of hazardous waste were issued in this way. According to the police, the ministry paid over 3.7 million crowns to the company. In total, however, the group wanted to extort over 10.2 million from the ministry.
According to the conclusions of the police so far described in the indictment, the author of the plan is Daniel Kraft, who is therefore the main accused. At the time the acts were committed, according to the police, he was a board member at Aquatest and also a board member at Celio. After the accusation, he was removed from the bodies of both companies – as well as from the management of about 10 other companies where he figured.