The Bratislava II District Court sentenced Ladislav Bašternák to five years in prison for a €2m VAT fraud involving the sale of apartments in Marian Kočner’s Five Stars Residence residential project. Such fraud carries a 7-12 year sentence, but Bašternák admitted guilt and returned the VAT to the state, so the sentence was reduced. Still, Bašternák appealed the verdict, as he is demanding a suspended sentence. He admitted guilt in the hope of avoiding criminal prosecution, but the prosecutor decided the ’effective regret’ clause did not apply to VAT fraud. In total, Bašternák cashed in VAT returns totaling €16m, and most of them are subject to police investigation.
Smer leader Robert Fico still lives in an apartment he leases from Bašternák.