Prague, Sept 13 (CTK) – The Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation has filed a petition for an appellate review with the Czech Supreme Court in its dispute over 600-hectare plots near Ricany in the vicinity of Prague, the foundation, which manages a part of the Liechtenstein Family’s property, told reporters yesterday.
Lower-lever courts rejected its claims and ruled that the plots belonged to the state on the basis of the post-war Benes decrees.
The Foundation says the property was confiscated unlawfully.
The Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs (UZSVM) reacted saying the Foundation could not inherit the property that the state confiscated before.
The vast property of the Liechtenstein family, including the UNESCO-listed complex of the Lednice and Valtice chateaux and park, south Moravia, was confiscated after WWII since the owner, Prince Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein, claimed his adherence to German ethnicity.
The Benes decrees provided for the confiscation of the property of collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, except for those who themselves suffered under the Nazis. They also formed a basis for the transfer of the former groups from Czechoslovakia.
In 2013, a district court met the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation’s request and confirmed the entry in the land register saying the plots were part of the Liechtenstein inheritance.
The UZSVM, acting on behalf of the Czech state, filed a legal complaint claiming the plots back. It argued that the foundation of current Liechtenstein Prince Hans-Adam II had gained them as inheritance over a mistake in the land register.
“To our surprise, the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs filed a confiscatory complaint claiming these plots,” Constantin of Liechtenstein, executive director of the foundation, said.
Last year, a district court ruled in favour of the state and the Prague Regional Court of Appeals upheld the verdict.
“We have decided to file a petition for an appellate review with the Czech Supreme Court asking it to annul the lower-level courts’ verdicts that have been issued so far,” Constantin of Liechtenstein said.
The UZSVM told CTK yesterday that it expected the foundation to take the step.
“We are ready to continue defending the interests of the Czech Republic in further court proceedings,” UZSVM spokesman Radek Lezatka said.
The UZSVM argues that the plots became the state’s property in 1945. “In view of the confiscation of the property of Franz Joseph II von Liechtenstein in 1945, there could be no property of his on the Czech territory that could be object of inheritance,” Lezatka said.
The original entry in the land register stating the Liechtensteins as the owners of the plots was caused by clerks’ mistakes. They did not always marked in the land register the property confiscated by the state on the basis of the post-war Benes degrees.
Constantin says the courts did not take it into consideration that the Foundation had been confirmed as the rightful owner of the plots in 2013.
He also reiterated his previous stance that the Benes decrees apply neither to the Foundation, nor to Franz Joseph II.
The Foundation said in its press release it was prepared to turn to international courts if the appellate review were rejected.