Czech anti-corruption police and the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) are looking into allegedly suspicious sales of property belonging to the state railways Český dráhy (ČD), the business daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday.
Among the deals under investigation is the 2007 sale of two connected buildings in the Prague city center to the Nymburk firm Apuro for Kč 203 million — which were sold three years later to Charles University for nearly twice as much (and paid for through a Kč 372 million subsidy from the Ministry of Education).
Apuro invested nothing into the buildings on Opletalová street, opposite the main railway station. The owner of the company, Otakar Otto, declared bankruptcy a year after the sale, the daily said.
Former ČD director Josef Bazala denied that the buildings had been sold below market value, citing an expert opinion that they were worth Kč 121 million. “The highest bid, which was much higher than that of the experts, won. It was a legitimate tender,” he said, as cited by Hospodářské noviny.
Charles University, meanwhile, denied that it had overpaid for the property, citing three evaluations that valued it at around Kč 400 million. Former education minister Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs, VV) also told the daily that his deputy responsible for the budget, Eva Bartoňová, had assured him the contract was in order. “I presented it to the prime minister [Petr Nečas], and he told me the same thing,” Dobeš said.