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Former lawyer Altner, who won major court case against Social Democrats, dies at 69

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Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) – Former defence counsel Zdenek Altner, whom the Czech senior government Social Democrats (CSSD) is to pay almost 338 million crowns for his services according to a court verdict, died this morning at the age of 69 years, his lawyer Vaclav Vesely has told CTK.
The Supreme Court (NS) will only make a decision on the CSSD’s petition for an appellate review after the probate proceedings are completed.
Ales Pavel, director of the office of the NS’s chairman, told CTK that “someone will have to inherit the claim. As soon as it is clear who inherits it, the proceedings before the Supreme Court will continue with the person,” Pavel said.
The CSSD has offered its condolences to Altner’s family, Jiri Chvojka, the media representative of the law office that represents the CSSD in its dispute with Altner, told CTK.
In late March, Altner won a long court dispute with the CSSD. The court ruled that the Social Democrats must pay a sum of 18.5 million to Altner for his services in the case of the party’s seat in Lidovy dum plus a contractual fine of 318 million for the 5734 days that elapsed from filing the lawsuit until the verdict was issued.
The CSSD challenged the verdict and it filed a petition for an appellate review with the NS.
Altner helped the CSSD defend its ownership of its Lidovy dum lucrative real estate in Prague centre in the late 1990s. The contract from 1997 granted Altner a contractual reward worth 10 percent of the lucrative real estate’s value if he succeeded in pushing through the party’s claim to it.
At the time when the verdict was issued, Altner was listed among wanted persons as he was being prosecuted on suspicion of embezzlement worth over 800,000 crowns.
The court wanted to deal with his case in April, but it had to postpone the proceedings since he apologised for health reasons repeatedly. The court was waiting for an expert opinion on his health condition.
At present, notary Vaclav Halbich, who claims he cooperated with Altner in the Lidovy dum case, demands 17 million crowns in a dispute with the CSSD and Alba firm.
Altner worked as a company lawyer and later he became a defence counsel.
He represented the CSSD in the case of Lidovy dum ownership from 1997. The contract on his legal representation was agreed with Altner by Ivo Svoboda and signed by former CSSD chairman Milos Zeman, incumbent president.
Criminal complaints against Altner were filed with the Czech Bar Association (CAK) because of his disputes with the CSSD.
In January 2011, he was deleted from the list of defence counsels after disciplinary proceedings.
($1=24.359 crowns)

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