In recent weeks and months there has been a deluge of articles speculating about the possible scenarios for the escalation of the current crisis and their impact on states, companies and citizens. The common trait of all these forecasts is that they are based on unknown circumstances such as the breakup of the eurozone, demise of the euro and bankruptcy of EU-member states.
Media reports that Czech investment group Natland Group, briefly the owner of a large stake Czech football club Slavia Prague, is about to win control of the club’s Eden stadium appear slightly off-side. Natland’s real goal would seem to be gaining control of the stadium’s owner, E Side Property (along with its problematic debts).
Prague prosecutors have asked UK authorities for help in tracing companies related to a high-profile case of alleged fraud around the audiovisual services firm ProMoPro that occurred during the Czechs’ EU Presidency. Just as ČEZ’s Martin Roman was (allegedly) traced to offshore trusts getting payments from Škoda Plzeň, so too could be the elusive Inteprod Ltd., which got some Kč 135 mln via ProMoPro.
The surge of media interest stirred up by reports that the Ministry of Finance’s special auditing section is probing state-power giant ČEZ's purchase and construction of two big solar projects demonstates well-used links between the ministry and media, a complicated corporate structure for the companies under the spotlight, and what is probably a clear sub-plot to discredit Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra.
Public Affairs (VV) deputy Michal Babák is again making headlines in connection with his party’s financing. Apart from the Kč 6.5 million he was already known to have ‘lent’ to VV, it now emerges that in March the junior coalition party allegedly borrowed another Kč 5 million from him. The Finance Ministry’s special auditing arm, the FAÚ, has handed evidence of money laundering over to the police. Can the ‘wizard’ Babák ‘cast spells’ to clear his name?
Three Prague districts are hoping to receive Kč 62 million from non-liquid bonds issued by chemical company Via Chem Group which mature on June 1, but a shareholder in the firm claims these and other bonds issued by the firm are invalid. What is more, the brokerage that purchased the bonds on behalf of the Prague administrations has lost its broker’s license.
Testimony relating to an important meeting involving lobbyist Marek Dalík and then-deputy Defense Minister Martin Barták (ODS) regarding military contracts raises serious questions regarding corruption. One question is exactly whom Dalík was working for. Another is why the payments for each Pandur went up when the vehicles had some shortcomings.
The brokerage Key Investments has blamed Czech Position for causing problems complicating the return of Kč 200 million that the Prague 10 administration entrusted to the firm. On Monday, the assembly of Prague 10 discussed developments, or lack thereof, with district leaders’ attempts to get the public funds back from the nontransparent firm.
Miloš Havránek and Petr Šrámek, the owners of the accountancy firm Bene Factum, are probably cursing the day they met Michal Babák from Public Affairs. The parliamentary deputy’s claim that he has a 15 percent stake in their company has put them on the spot. Meanwhile the accountancy firm seems to have carried on some work for some interesting companies, including those in the Via Chem Group owned by the controversial entrepreneur Petr Sisák.
Public Affairs MP Michal Babák, the party’s economic expert, has failed to provide a credible explanation of where he got millions of crowns that he donated to his party. Babák’s explanation is reminiscent of when former Prime Minister Stanislav Gross was unable to explain where he amassed the millions with which he bought a luxury property, writes Tomáš Hlaváč.