Czech Dawn leader Okamura sues PM Sobotka over privatisation deal


04.04.2014 13:59

Prague - Tomio Okamura, head of the Dawn of Democracy movement, today filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) over the privatisation deal of the OKD mining firm in 2004, the party has said in a press release.


Ilustrační foto - Tomio Okamura z hnutí Úsvit přímé demokracie. ČTK Doležal Michal

With its steps, Sobotka might have harmed the Czech Republic, the press release said.

Okamura is of the view that the transaction prompted the suspicion that Sobotka and other government members could have agreed with the buyer to insist on the lowest possible price for OKD. In other words, on "the biggest loss and harm to the state he represented."

Dawn wrote that the state could have lost up to 20 billion crowns.

The crimes of breach trust in property administration and abuse of power could have been committed, the press release said.

The police should bear in mind the fact that Sobotka is also prime minister of the Czech Republic that may have incurred damage. "This is why the complainant asks the law-enforcement bodies to consider the option of naming a trustee to the Czech Republic," Dawn wrote.

The criminal complaint cites the information published by daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) in the past days.

MfD is owned by Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO). Sobotka said earlier today Babis had made use of his media to step up pressure on his coalition partner.

Babis has dismissed the allegation.

The Thursday issue of MfD wrote that in 2005 the European Commission (EC) started to look into the privatisation of the OKD coal mining firm on suspicion of a too low selling price by which the state gave the buyer, Karbon Invest, an unlawful aid.

At the time, the EC and later also the Finance Ministry that Sobotka headed then, had an expert opinion by the NOVOTA institute at their disposal.

NOVOTA evaluated the state stake at 10.3 billion crowns, which was about 2.5 times more than the selling price.

MfD wrote that in 2006 Sobotka had documents worked out for the EC by the buyer, Karbon Invest, which hired the law office Pokorny, Wagner & spol., in which Sobotka, a lawyer by training, worked before. Sobotka concedes he and the firm's co-owner Radko Pokorny are friends.

Sobotka, however, insists on that the state sold its 45.88 percent stake for the market price.

($1=19.922 crowns)

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