Prague, Nov 4 (CTK) – Businessman Martin Nejedly, whose firm Lukoil Aviation Czech was ordered to pay a high fine last April, maintained his position of a key aide to Czech President Milos Zeman thanks to the Russian oil company Lukoil that paid both the fine and other debts, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Friday.
One day after the court verdict was issued in the spring, Zeman told Czech Television that Nejedly can keep his position of aide provided that the fine, 32.6 million crowns, is paid.
Lukoil Aviation Czech, which was in liquidation, lost a long court dispute with the Czech Administration of State Material Reserves over reserves of kerosene jet fuel.
The money was paid by a Dutch firm owned by the Russian Lukoil, MfD writes.
The paper says it seems that the fine and further debts were covered by Nejedly’s Russian partners, while Nejedly did not pay anything despite his 40-percent stake in the firm.
According to the financial report issued before the firm entered into liquidation last year, its debts exceeded 100 million crowns. The Russian Lukoil sent nearly 180 million to the firm and this money was probably used to cover the debts, which totalled over 200 million.
Nejedly did not answer questions concerning Lukoil Aviation Czech. He only said a liquidator controlled the firm instead of him last year.
But Nejedly still had the 40-percent stake in the company then, the paper writes.
In August 2015, the first part of the money, 125 million crowns, was sent to Nejedly’s firm, from Russia via the Dutch company. Lukoil Vice President Oleg Pashayev authorised Olga Teplinsky, from Moscow, to sign this contract.
At a shareholders’ meeting, Nejedly and Teplinsky elected lawyer Tomas Rychly liquidator of Lukoil Aviation Czech. Rychly worked for a law office that represented Nejedly’s firm in the court dispute with the Czech state. Rychly has been nominated for a judge of the Supreme Administrative Court and his appointment only needs to be approved by Zeman, MfD writes.
The second payment from Russia covered the 32.6 million fine. Shortly afterwards Nejedly’s firm received the third and last payment, an equivalent of more than 20 million crowns. The report on the firm’s liquidation issued 19 days later declared that the remaining property of the firm was only 219,000 crowns. It is unclear what happened with the 20 million in those 19 days, the paper writes.
MfD writes that Nejedly markedly contributed to the establishment of the small Party of Citizens’ Rights that organised Zeman’s presidential campaign and he is now considered the most influential man around Zeman.
The paper writes that Lukoil Aviation Czech won the contract for jet fuel deliveries in 2007 when Nejedly’s friend Ales Rebicek was transport minister. In 2008, the Russian Lukoil financed a translation of a book by then president Vaclav Klaus.
In 2015, the Presidential Office arranged a diplomatic passport for Nejedly, although only Foreign Ministry employees and some constitutional officials are authorised to use it, MfD writes.