Police track money from Berka case to Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Prague, Sept 7 (CTK) – Police are investigating whether money that a criminal gang around former bankruptcy judge Jiri Berka embezzled from Czech companies through fraudulent bankruptcies ended up in bank accounts of the people connected with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mlada fronta Dnes reported Thursday.

“This was either an ingenious network through which the group laundered the money or its members used the structure of the firms belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses for the legalisation of their profits from the business,” a detective told the paper.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that bankruptcy fund administrator Daniel Thonat, the crown witness in the current court proceedings with Berka’s criminal group, is a former member of the fundamentalist Christian religious society. Igor Brdlik, whom police consider the mastermind of the group, also had contacts with influential people from the sect.

Judge Jiri Bernat, the chief judge in the trial of the group that is currently underway, has declined to comment on the role of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the time being. “It is not on the agenda at present,” he said.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that, according to the state attorney, the criminal gang around Berka embezzled almost CZK 300 million from Czech companies. Police believe that the group’s profits could reach CZK 500 million.

(USD1=22.069 crowns)

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CTK Czech News Agency, via the Prague Daily Monitor, Czech Republic
Sep. 7, 2006

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This post was last updated: Friday, December 16, 2016 at 9:33 AM, Central European Time (CET)