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Lobbyist Rittig losing solar business dispute

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Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) – Czech lobbyist Ivo Rittig cannot claim an apology or financial compensation for the statement that he is behind the trading in solar power plants, the Prague High Court ruled yesterday.
Rittig’s complaint about a breach of protection of person was targeted at a public statement made by the director of the Czech branch of Transparency International (TIC), David Ondracka.
Ondracka told Czech Television that Rittig “features in the photovoltaic case Amun.Re and is behind its deals.”
Rittig says he has nothing in common with the Amun.Re case.
He said the statement was untrue and created the impression that he was implicated in the case with criminal undertones.
Along with an apology, Rittig demanded 100,000 crowns.
“The (television) discussion programme did not trigger the publicity and criminalisation of the complainant,” the appeals court panel chairwoman, Milena Opatrna, said yesterday.
“There were many much more critical articles relating to various other deals and financing of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) at the time the complainant was called a ‘godfather’,” she added.
Opatrna said TIC had made an analysis of the businesses associated with Amun.Re proving that Rittig did have a relation to the photovoltaic business.
Some time ago, the media speculated about Rittig’s possible participation in the transaction in which the semi-state energy company CEZ bought two giant solar plants near Ralsko and Mimon, north Bohemia, for five billion crowns from Amun.Re, a dubious company.
Critics say the deal was disadvantageous for CEZ.
Two years ago, the Prague Municipal Court ruled that the televised discussion had only related to Rittig marginally and did not harm his rights.
As he appealed the verdict, the high court dealt with it yesterday. Its verdict is valid.
The media repeatedly described Rittig as one of the “godfathers” of the ODS, a governing party for much of the postcommunist era who had a big, informal influence on the decision-making process at the Prague City Hall, especially on public procurement.
The media also wrote that Rittig had a large influence on Petr Bendl (ODS), former Central Bohemia regional governor and transport and agriculture minister.
($1 = 24.809 crowns)

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