Sunday, 20 April 2014

MfD: Zeman's people have Russian links

ČTK |
24 September 2012

Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) - Milos Zeman, one of the favourites of the Czech presidential election, is surrounded by the businesspeople some of whom have "Russian links," daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Friday.

Zeman and his two closest assistants have in common that they are linked to the former Communist high-ranking apparatchik Miroslav Slouf, MfD writes.

It was Slouf who acquainted leader of Zeman's Party of Citizens' Rights (SPOZ) Vratislav Mynar and Martin Nejedly, SPOZ deputy chairman, with Zeman, it adds.

Mynar and Nejedly are in charge of the financing of Zeman's presidential campaign, MfD writes.

Nejedly, responsible for financial affairs in the SPOZ, made friends with Slouf in the business sphere, it adds.

"Plynostav Pardubice that was constructing a gas pipeline in Kamchatka, turned to me as it needed help there. Nejedly was introduced to me as the man who will act on behalf of Plynostav," Slouf has told the paper.

Nejedly was conducting business in Russia for ten years, when he also collaborated with the Lukoil oil giant, MfD writes.

He mediated supplies of technologies for the construction of pipelines and along with Lukoil he established a joint firm in the Czech Republic in 2007, it adds.

The firm is called Lukoil Aviation Czech.

Mynar was also acquainted with Slouf through business, MfD writes.

"The other day, we had some business contact. We have spent holidays together since 2005," Slouf said.

Slouf, head of the SPOZ Prague branch, is a lobbyist of the Slavia Consulting firm. Like Nejedly, he is also a sponsor of the party. Both of them have donated one million crowns to the party, MfD writes.

However, they have refused to disclose the incomes from their businesses, it adds.

Zeman's presidential campaign is to cost some 12 million crowns. The money is to flow from minor sponsors as well, but they have not been disclosed, although Nejedly has promised to do so in the future, MfD writes.

Slouf has the reputation of a man who was in contact with the murdered head of Czech underworld Frantisek Mrazek and who negotiated a secret deal thanks to which President Vaclav Klaus gained support in the 2008 election as he met head of Klaus's office Jiri Weigl, it adds.

It is common knowledge that Slouf is Lukoil's lobbyist. He may influence Zeman to its benefit, MfD writes.

Slouf and Nejedly share their offices, it adds.

"I have never had any contract with Lukoil," Slouf said, dismissing the idea that he works for the Russian firm.

However, he does not deny the notion that under the government of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democratic Party, ODS, 2006-2009) when Lukoil had the opportunity of delivering aircraft fuel to the Prague-Ruzyne airport, he might have acted on its behalf.

Nejedly, a former Czechoslovak volleyball international, started up his own business in Germany in 1991. The Opel car maker used his knowledge of Russian and one year later, he became "head of the Opel sales project in Russia," MfD writes.

Nejedly spent ten years in Russia. He says that one day, he met some Lukoil executives in a popular Moscow restaurant.

"At that time, the business elite of Russia used to socialise there. It was there that I met the persons that were, one might say, Lukoil's collaborators," Nejedly said.

Nejedly then moved his business from automobiles to the energy industry. He started mediating deliveries of some products for Lukoil, also from the Czech Republic. In 2002, he became a consultant of Plynostav Pardubice and then met Slouf, MfD writes.

Although Nejedly has worked with Lukoil for 15 years, he dismisses the idea that Lukoil finances Zeman or his party or that he would like to act on its behalf in the Czech Republic.

Lukoil Aviation Czech has never published any statement of accounts, MfD writes.

Referring to a trustworthy source, MfD writes that Zeman may be also indirectly supported by the people around the ice hockey club Lev Praha.

It is jointly owned by Sportovni holding Praha and Russian Yevgeny Myshkovsky, manager of the Swiss daughter company of the Russian Gazprom gas exporting company, MfD writes.

According to the latest public opinion poll, Zeman, a former Czech prime minister (1998-2002), is the second with 22.7 percent behind the leading candidate, Jan Fischer, with 27.7 percent of the vote.

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