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Zeman is for investigation into coal-mining privatisation

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Prague, May 3 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman is interested in a Chamber of Deputies commission finding those who are to blame for the economic decline of the OKD coal-mining company, the commission chairman Lukas Cernohorsky (Pirates) told journalists after meeting Zeman on Thursday.

Cernohorsky said he presumed the commission might unveil the results of its investigation in October, while the first preliminary results might be known by mid-year.

Josef Hajek (ANO), a commission member, and Cernohorsky wanted to primarily speak about the situation in OKD between 1998 and 2002 with Zeman, when he was the prime minister for the Social Democrats (CSSD).

“We discussed both the routine ways of privatisation going on in the 1990s and then the subsequent economic aspect when economic means were gradually moved out from OKD,” Cernohorsky said.

“Zeman supports us, he wants our commission to arrive at the punishment of the culprits,” Hajek said.

Hajek said according to Zeman, Zdenek Bakala, a former owner of OKD, was mainly to blame for the current situation in OKD.

In the late 1990s, a part of OKD shares was sold within the voucher privatisation, but the state still remained their main owner. In the following years, the decisive influence was gained by the firm Prosper Trading.

In 1998, the firm was entered by the firm Karbon Invest (KI), which became its majority owner.

In 2003, the government of Vladimir Spidla (CSSD) started to discuss the sale of the remaining 46 percent of the shares with Karbon Invest.

However, the anti-trust office rejected the originally agreed price of 2.25 billion crowns in May 2004.

Later in 2004, under the government of Stanislav Gross (CSSD), when the post of finance minister was held by Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD), later a prime minister, Karbon Invest bought the state-owned securities in OKD for 4.1 billion crowns.

According to the state attorney’s office, the real price of the state securities was at least 9.8 billion, due to which the state incurred the damage of over 5.7 billion crowns.

Afterwards, Karbon Invest was bought by Bakala’s RPG Industries.

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