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President unaware of donation by firm he supported, he says

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Sluknov, North Bohemia, Oct 5 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman, who is honorary chairman of the small Party of Citizens’ Rights (SPO), knows nothing of the Liglass Trading firm having sponsored the SPO, he said during his visit to the Usti Region on Thursday.

“I am not an active participant of the SPO, I know nothing of a donation from this company,” Zeman said.

On Wednesday, news server wrote that Liglass donated 200,000 crowns to the SPO in 2016. The information on the donation is included in SPO’s annual financial report.

Zeman told journalists to ask Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar.

Last year, Zeman and Mynar aided Liglass in obtaining a huge hydro power plant deal in Kyrgyzstan by recommending the firm to the Kyrgyz political representation, even though the company lacked substantial experience in the field.

In September, the Kyrgyz government eventually withdrew from the contract with Liglass, which is said to be worth over 12 billion crowns. Liglass was ready to launch an international arbitration with Kyrgyzstan over the deal, its director Michael Smelik said.

Mynar, who led the SPO in 2010-13, told CTK on Wednesday that he heads a regional branch of the SPO and has nothing to do with the party’s financing.

Mynar dismissed any connection between the donation and his support for Liglass.

SPO leader Jan Veleba said he was not aware of the donation by Liglass.

Czech media speculated that corruption was likely to be behind the Kyrgyz power plant deal. Zeman’s Presidential Office accused the media of contributing to the failure of the contract.

The SPO financed and organised Zeman’s successful campaign before the 2013 direct presidential election. Zeman will be defending his post in the presidential election scheduled for January 2018. He claims that he wages no campaign, but his critics say his frequent tours of Czech regions and his regular interviews on commercial TV and radio stations are nothing but campaigning. Zeman has dismissed this, arguing that it is part of his role of the head of state.

Liglass has its seat in a run-down facility. In 2016, the firm officially employed two people, completed orders worth only 612,000 crowns and reported a loss of nearly one million crowns.

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