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Chamber to deal with privatisation of Czech coal-mining firm

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Prague, June 7 (CTK) – The opposition Communists (KSCM) and the Dawn party will have a special session of the Czech Chamber of Deputies called to inspect privatisation of the OKD mining company, Marek Cernoch, head of the Dawn deputies, told CTK yesterday.
The appeal was signed by a sufficient number of the Chamber of Deputies members, Cernoch said.
The session may be called for June 30. It may result in forming a parliamentary watchdog commission.
The decision on the sale of the state’s stake in OKD, a firm based in north Moravia, was made by the government of Stanislav Gross, in which Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (both Social Democrats, CSSD) was finance minister.
The Czech state sold its 46-percent stake in OKD for 4.1 billion crowns to the majority owner, the Karbon Invest company.
The Dawn says a later expert opinion put the net worth of the OKD at 52 billion crowns.
Dawn deputies are speaking about Sobotka’s political responsibility for what they call a botched deal.
Sobotka has dismissed the allegations.
The privatisation deal was inspected by the European Commission. It ruled that the state had not made any mistake, he said.
Karbon Invest subsequently sold OKD to the investment group RPG Industries, headed by financier Zdenek Bakala, for 9-12 billion crowns, depending on various sources.
Now OKD is indirectly controlled by the Ad Hoc Group. It was recently declared bankrupt as it owes over 17 billion crowns to its creditors.
($1 = 23.805 crowns)

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