Court orders extradition of Czech man, dismisses Gozo kidnap claims

A Maltese judge has dismissed the defense of a man who claimed his extradition was requested by the Czech government because of its involvement in the tax fraud case together with police

A man who claimed he was kidnapped and forced to sign documents which implicated him in VAT fraud is set to be extradited to the Czech Republic.

Marek Drga was arrested in Malta in November against for tax evasion charges due to unpaid VAT amounting to over €350,000.

Drga is remanded in custody and has seven days to file a constitutional case, as the Maltese court said that his allegations could not be proven on a level of probability.

In December, the court ordered the return of Drga to the Czech Republic on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), a judgement which he appealed, as he claimed that he was kidnapped twice, once in Gozo, and forced to sign some 50 pages of documents which tied to a company he no longer owned.

During the emotional appeal, Drga claimed that he refused to sign documents relating to what he said was a shady deal involving construction giant Miroslav Zaremba, who had previously sub-contracted Drga’s company, and that he left the Czech Republic after criminal fraud investigations against Zaremba commenced, saying he was threatened for not signing the documents and felt “trapped” as he claimed members of the police force and the Czech government were involved. Drga said that after moving to Gozo, he was kidnapped and forced to sign the documents anyway.

Drga told a Maltese judge that the Czech police were involved in the alleged abductions in order to obtain his signature, and that the extradition request was for reasons other than those mentioned in the EAW. However, he failed to produce evidence.

The court said that it was not in a position to decide whether the man was framed, and that it could not refuse the extradition based solely on his deceleration that the Czech court and police were not acting in good faith.

Therefore, the Maltese court refused his request to revoke the previous judgment and Drga will be kept in custody to await his return to the Czech Republic.

Lawyer Roberto Montalto was defence counsel.

Lawyer George Camilleri from the Office of the Attorney General prosecuted.