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Social Democrats reluctant to pay huge debt to lawyer

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Prague, April 13 (CTK) – Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) will only decide on Thursday whether to pay 337 million crowns to their former defence counsel Zdenek Altner for his services as the party does not recognise the claim on which a court has decided, Jiri Chvojka, who represents the party, told CTK yesterday.
The CSSD has applied for an appellate review with the Supreme Court, but this does not postpone the verdict’s effect.
A court recently ruled that the Social Democrats must pay a sum of 18.5 million to Altner for his services plus a contractual fine of 318 million.
Altner helped the CSSD successfully defend its ownership of its Lidovy dum headquarters 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.
Social Democrats have refused to pay the enormous claim.
“We have agreed that we will postpone the deadline until tomorrow when we will disclose our further steps,” Chvojka said.
Chvojka said the party leaders had not discussed the accountability for the current state of affairs that has immensely burdened the party’s finances yesterday.
“There is not any search for culprits, but there is a search for a way out. As the CSSD still does not recognise the claim, no one feels guilty,” Chvojka said.
Chvojka said the party still considered the verdict unfair and unsubstantiated.
The verdict took effect on Monday. Since it was delivered to the parties concerned, a three-day deadline for the payment started running on the day.
($1 = 23.717 crowns)

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