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Pokrivka v Slovakia and Sitta v Slovakia

In Pokrivka v Slovakia (ECHR Case 35933/06) and Sitta v Slovakia (ECHR Case 48144/06) two individuals were arrested in February 2002 during an investigation of a suspected large-scale VAT fraud and were remanded in custody.

In October 2004 they were also indicted for murder. They were subsequently convicted and sentenced to substantial terms of imprisonment. While in prison they applied to the ECHR contending that the length of time during which they had been detained in custody was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECHR rejected their applications describing their complaint as ‘manifestly ill-founded’.

Why it matters: This case may serve as a reminder that VAT fraud frequently involves very substantial sums of money and may attract criminal elements who are capable of committing more serious offences such as murder.

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