Czech beer lovers last week launched an internet-based campaign against the possible sale of the world-famous Budějovický Budvar brewery in České Budějovice to the global drinks giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which produces beer under the Budweiser name. Rumors that the “godfather” lobbyists close to the center-right Civic Democrats (ODS) are planning the sale emerged shortly after Petr Bendl (ODS) took control of the Agriculture Ministry. Meanwhile, the brewery is doing itself no favors by refusing to give details about marketing and other payments as a controversial ministry audit continues.
A well-informed and high-placed politician with the center-right Civic Democrats (ODS), the largest of the three parties in the governing coalition, shares his insights into the recent initiatives and intrigues concerning state-owned Budějovický Budvar brewery, the producer of the original Budweiser beer.
The Agriculture Ministry’s appointment of auditor HZ Consult to control Budějovický Budvar is steeped in controversy. The relatively small firm has been was linked to a financing scandal involving Public Affairs (VV) fundraiser MP Michal Babák and, indirectly, with the dubious brokerage Key Investments. It is controlled by a co-owner of auditor Bene Factum, which oversees Babák’s business activities.
Responding to speculation that Agriculture Minister Petr Bendl (ODS) intends to replace top manager of 21 years of the Budějovický Budvar brewery ― the maker of the original Budweiser beer ― South Bohemia regional governor and member of the brewery’s board Jiří Zimola demands firm guarantees from PM Petr Nečas that the company will remain state-owned.