published: 24.05.2013, 19:07 | updated: 24.05.2013 19:12:55
Prague/Bellinzona - The Swiss detectives dealing with the suspicious privatisation of MUS coal mining company also investigate the privatisation of another Czech firm, the Plzen-seated Skoda Holding, Internet daily Insider writes today, adding that this ensues from a Swiss partial verdict on the MUS case.
The Swiss have information at their disposal on how the takeover of Skoda was made and financed by the Appian investment group, Insider writes.
It says the Czech media have speculated about links between the two cases for three years now, but the verdict released by the Swiss Federal Court is the first clear piece of evidence to prove it.
The verdict, cited by Insider, says "the embezzled [MUS] money was subsequently subject to an extensive money laundering operation that continued until 2005, also via various empty shells belonging to group J, and it mainly served to gain control of company K."
According to Insider, the letter K means Skoda Holding, the Czech number one engineering company, which the Appian group bought from the state in 2003-2004.
According to the Swiss authorities, Appian used money drawn from MUS to pay for Skoda Holding.
Insider recalls that the financial flows linked to Skoda Holding´s privatisation may clear up the role played in the case by Martin Roman, the then Skoda Holding head who later became the CEZ state energy utility´s director general and who now heads the CEZ supervisory council.
The Swiss investigation may confirm or refute the suspicion, also voiced by some Czech media, that Roman profited from Appian and was interested in its entry of Skoda Holding, which would mean a clash of interests on his part.
Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) previously wrote, referring to the Swiss investigation, that a part of the money drawn from Appian for purchasing state shares served to corrupt politicians.
Two years ago, MfD published documents showing how some 150 million crowns, originally MUS assets, ended up in the accounts of people linked to the then ruling Czech Social Democrats (CSSD).
A part of the millions of crowns designed for corruption reportedly ended in the Swiss account of former deputy industry minister Robert Sykora, who several years later assisted in a miraculous huge growth of former CSSD PM Stanislav Gross´s (in office 2004-2005) property.
Insider says it is not clear for now whether the Swiss will also file complaints about other circumstances of MUS privatisation.
The Swiss MUS trial may also have another effect, since private businessmen gained control of another Czech mining company, the Ostrava-based OKD, in the late 1990s in a way that is very much similar to the MUS case, Insider points out.
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