The opaque brokerage Key Investments — into which nearly Kč 1 billion of public funds has apparently been lost or embezzled — has filed for insolvency and will probably go into liquidation. This does not mean, however, that Key Investments will cease to be a threat to the myriad politicians who profited from deals with the brokerage over the past decade. The potential for blackmail and settling political scores is huge.
The Key Investments archives are a powerful weapon, both for those with something to lose and something to gain. The web of influence involved in the scandal around the dodgy brokerage goes to the summit of the Czech business-political power axes — and that’s the reason why only one token, and peripheral, culprit has been reeled in so far: former industry and trade minister Martin Kocourek.
Jan Stráský didn’t look back after becoming director of the Šumava National Park in February 2011, skirting or violating environmental rules and ecological good practice wherever possible, according to his opponents. For his clear cut performance which left the field far behind he has been chosen as the Czech Republic’s top anti-ecologist for 2011.
Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba has sought to reset the great Czech coal debate over whether existing mining limits should be ditched or not in the face of depleting reserves. Kuba says stress should be more on more efficient power plants so that reserves within existing reserves can last longer.
Martin Kocourek (Civic Democrat, ODS), the former industry and trade minister who famously diverted bonds worth Kč 16 million to his mother to keep part of his wealth out of a divorce settlement with his wife, now faces a police probe over suspicions that he defrauded creditors.
Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba (ODS) proudly unveiled his proposal for economic diplomacy to play a key role in boosting exports and diversifying sales abroad to reduce dependence on a struggling Europe. But he failed to get the foreign ministry on board beforehand — and it has a long list of complaints about allegedly major flaws in Kuba’s proposal.
Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba says coal remains a strategic resource and therefore the government should leave its options open, including preserving its power to expropriate land and property to make way for new coal fields. However, under the coalition agreement between the three parties in power, the government has pledged to abolish its power to evict residents in the way of mining activities.
Exactly a year ago, Czech Position was the first publication to report on the scandal surrounding the Key Investments brokerage, which could be dubbed as the Czech equivalent of the Bernie Madoff case. While the US finance fraudster received a 150-year prison sentence, the main protagonists in the Czech scandal remain free — thanks to the level of morality and expertise in the Czech police and judiciary.
Still to be confirmed but clearly on the horizon, the sale of the Czech gas pipeline company Net4Gas by its German owner RWE is clearly a matter of concern for the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO). Minister Martin Kuba on Tuesday expressed his fears over the prospects of a non-strategic buyer ready to sell for a quick profit when the opportunity arose but also admitted he was legislatively powerless to intervene.
A possible nuclear energy splurge in the Czech Republic no longer looks on the cards over the next half century with Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba saying one scenario for 18 new nuclear reactors producing 80 percent of the country’s electricity belongs in the fiction section. Kuba is tasked with drawing up the country's long term energy plans, now likely to be delivered mid-year.