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Czech News in English » News » National » ČRo: Oxford University rejects coal baron Tykač's donation

ČRo: Oxford University rejects coal baron Tykač’s donation

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Prague, April 18 (CTK) – Oxford University rejected a donation of 1.4 million pounds from Czech coal baron Pavel Tykac because the Swiss police investigated Tykac over suspicious financial transactions and blocked his bank accounts a few years ago, the Czech Radio (CRo) public broadcaster reported on Tuesday.

Tykac’s spokesman Jan Chudomel told the radio that in 2015 Tykac heard of fears that Czech studies might end at Oxford University. He said Tykac presented a long-term plan for extended and improved lessons of Czech language.

Chudomel said a donation was not made because the negotiations with the university failed to settle two problems, Oxford University’s plan to finance lessons of some other languages, Russian including, from the money and the Swiss investigation of some of Tykac’s firms.

CRo said it seems that the university ended the negotiations when it heard that Swiss prosecutors blocked part of Tykac’s property in 2013.

The Swiss prosecutors checked the suspicion that the property Tykac had in Switzerland originated from fraudulent transferring of assets worth 1.2 billion crowns from CS Fondy in 1996-97. The money was allegedly used to buy the MUS coal mining company from the Czech state. Tykac now owns the company and he renamed it to Czech Coal. The Prague High State Attorney’s Office halted Tykac’s prosecution in December 2015.

Citing Roman Borisovich, an expert fighting money laundering, CRo said prominent British universities have faced criticism for accepting money from untrustworthy donors, such as oligarchs Len Blavatnik and Dmitry Firtash, arms dealer Wafic Said and the family of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Czech developer Ludek Sekyra built a student centre at Oxford University in 2015. Sekyra was mentioned in relation to controversial business deals from the late 1990s, but the suspicion has not been proved.

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