Glasgow & West Scotland

Conmen blamed jail on Holyrood human-trafficking crackdown

Two men jailed for ripping off migrants in Glasgow have lost their appeal which claimed a Holyrood crackdown on people-trafficking cost them a fair trial.

Petr Kupka, 38, from the Czech Republic, and Michal Rondos, 26, from Slovakia, used bogus companies to take cash and rent from fellow countrymen.

They were jailed for a total of seven years in March 2013 but appealed against their convictions.

In a written ruling, Judge Lady Paton dismissed their appeal.

The fraudsters had argued that a news release from the Scottish government at the time their trial began, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, in October 2012, sparked a media debate which meant their convictions were unsafe.

But Lady Paton said: "The news release did not name or even remotely refer to the appellants. The release was concerned with a wholly different crime, namely human trafficking involving enforced detention, enforced labour and slavery of various sorts."

Hopeful migrants had contacted Kupka and Rondos after seeing their websites promising work and accommodation in Glasgow.

They each paid £400 for rent and a cash deposit but were not given jobs and ended up penniless.

At least £6,000 was made through the fraudulent schemes.

More on this story