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State to sell Štiřín chateau for CZK 100 million

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Štiřín chateau is used by the Foreign Affairs MInistry as conference centre. (ČTK): Štiřín chateau is used by the Foreign Affairs MInistry as conference centre. (ČTK)Štiřín chateau is used by the Foreign Affairs MInistry as conference centre. (ČTK)

The baroque chateau in Štiřín, since the era of former PM Miloš Zeman with a top-level blackmail and wire-tapping affair will apparently soon be for sale.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry, which administers Štiřín chateau, which lies near Prague and functions as a conference centre, is very seriously considering getting rid of the property.

“It’s a realistic consideration, especially given the financial aspects of the situation, Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told Aktuálně.cz.

His spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalová added that the ministry has so far commissioned an appraisal to evaluate the market value of the whole complex. “Only then will the final decision be made,” she said.

What to do with it

According to unofficial information available to Aktuálně.cz, the reasons behind the ministry’s intent to sell the chateau are simple: It might be more advantageous for the ministry to sell the building instead of just own it.

Initially, the ministry expected to use the chateau complex during the Czech Republic’s EU presidency. This did not end up happening, as officials decided that the Štiřín chateau was unsuitable because it was too small and was too far from the airport.

According to real estate experts questioned by Aktuálně.cz, the ministry should be able to get more than CZK 100 million for the property.

Comfort squared

The property includes a baroque chateau with several ponds, an English-style chateau park and several conference rooms. The complex, constructed for the most demanding clients, also serves as a hotel, a recreational facility as well as a venue for cultural events.

From time to time it was also used by the Czech Republic’s national football team.

The Štiřín chateau was the centre of media attention 10 years ago in connection with a blackmail affair that involved the advisors of former PM Miloš Zeman’s advisors.

Zeman’s advisor Jaroslav Novotný blackmailed chateau director Václav Hrubý, demanding that he create false evidence that former Foreign Affairs Minister Josef Zieleniec bribed journalists.

Hrubý refused to do this and publicised the recordings of conversations that ousted the blackmailing.

Although police decided that blackmailing had, indeed, taken place, no one was punished. The final verdict – despite the evidence of the recordings – stated that Novotný was just giving friendly advice and that Hrubý had misunderstood his intentions.

At the time journalists also discovered that several conference rooms used for delegation meetings in Štiřín were wire-taped for several months. The investigation of the affair cleared this up.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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