The head of football club Jablonec Kruf is on trial for embezzling 9.5 million CZK. (Illustrative photo - editorial collage: André Kruf on the right, Pelta on the left).

The head of football club Jablonec Kruf is on trial for embezzling 9.5 million CZK. However, he avoids the trial. The head of the first league football club Jablonec, André Kruf, is being prosecuted for stealing 9.5 million crowns. The chairman of the board of directors of FK Jablonec, André Kruf, is facing criminal prosecution for the embezzlement of the sum of 9.5 million crowns, which he siphoned off in 2016 from the over-indebted lottery company TIPGAMES to his own company Cartoon Mania.

The loan was not repaid. Kruf, however, has so far avoided court proceedings with impunity. The court has already sat twice in this criminal matter. The defendant Kruf (full name: Adrianus Leonardus Franciscus Kruf) never once appeared at the court hearing.

Kruf was supposed to have committed a crime by transferring money from the account of the company TIPGAMES in a situation where this company owed Commerzbank and other creditors an amount exceeding 170 million crowns in total. At the same time, Kruf, as the head of the TIPGAMES company (later renamed „Bonenkai“), knew that this company managed by him – due to its poor economic situation – would not be able to pay off its debts to creditors.

Nevertheless, Kruf sent the incriminated amount of CZK 9.5 million from TIPGAMES to his company Cartoon Mania on May 18, 2016. At that time, Kruf was the executive of Cartoon Mania, in which he held a 50% stake (this company has been in insolvency).

At the same time, on June 1, 2016, according to the contract, TIPGAMES was supposed to pay one of the creditors an amount owed in the amount of approximately 70 million crowns. The one hundred million loan from Commerzbank was already due in October 2017.

However, TIPGAMES did not pay any of these debts. At the same time, the amount of CZK 9.5 million that Kruf borrowed from Cartoon Mania (and never returned) to himself could have been used to pay off debts to the bank and other creditors of TIPGAMES.

André Kruf’s wife also worked in the Cartoon Mania company, which never reported a profit. After transferring the loan from TIPGAMES to the „family“ company Cartoon Mania, Kruf withdrew part of the funds to his private account. The lottery company TIPGAMES, which operated a network of gaming sports bars, was subsequently declared bankrupt.

The loan provided (to the Cartoon Mania company co-owned by Kruf) was never returned.

Kruf was supposed to harm the creditors

According to the indictment, with this step (i.e. a loan in the amount of 9.5 million CZK to his own „bankruptcy“), Kruf damaged the creditors of TIPGAMES, since their claims were not paid to these creditors in a timely and proper manner.

In doing so, he caused them damage in the amount of 9.5 million CZK and at the same time obtained a benefit of the same amount for the Cartoon Mania company. This is how Kruf was supposed to commit the crime of damaging a creditor. For this, the public prosecutor proposed an 18-month prison sentence for Kruf, conditionally suspended for a probationary period of 36 months.

At the same time, he requests that Kruf be ordered to compensate for the damage he caused by the crime and a fine of 100,000 crowns. In addition, Kruf is also demanding a ban on the performance of the position of a member of the statutory body of a legal entity for a period of 5 years.

Kruf, who appeared as an accused in the preliminary proceedings, stated in his defense that he felt innocent. Kruf himself transferred funds from TIPGAMES to Cartoon Mania while physically residing in the United States of America. As the president of the first league club FK Jablonec, during the investigation into the case of theft of 9.5 million crowns, he identified himself as penniless, or claimed that his total monthly income was 17,000 CZK.

At the same time, the Jablonec football players employed by him receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Kruf instead of Pelta

Since September 2016, André Kruf has been the chairman of the board of directors of the football club FK Jablonec. Kruf worked his way up to the position of head of football Jablonec thanks to the fact that the lottery company TIPGAMES, of which Kruf was the head, was the main sponsor of this first league club in 2016.

Kruf replaced the former head of Czech football, Miroslav Pelta, who is currently also facing criminal prosecution, but in a different (subsidy) case than Kruf, in the position of chairman of the FK Jablonec club, in which he still figures today. This year, the municipal court in Prague found both Miroslav Pelta and former deputy of the Ministry of Education Simona Kratochvílová guilty in the case of manipulation of sports subsidies and sent them to prison for 6 years and 6.5 years, respectively.

After taking up his position as an official, Kruf set himself the goal of stabilizing the Jablonec club at the level „where Mr. Pelta was able to get it“. However, in the past first league season (2022/2023), the club fell, finishing only in 13th position, i.e. the last place from which there is no danger of relegation to the second league. The club „solved“ this failure by dismissing coach David Horejš from his position.

Pelta’s Jablonec

Pelta already announced before his departure from the head of football Jablonec that he intends to give up his majority ownership stake in the club. André Kruf was to become the new majority owner. At the time, Pelta himself officially announced the change of ownership and management in the club, and Kruf confirmed this transaction.

However, according to the available information, the ownership change did not take place in the end and Pelta continues (that is, roughly 7 years after the announcement of the intention to sell the majority share to Kruf) to remain the majority owner of the first league club Jablonec, which has been headed by André Kruf for almost 7 years. (sfr)