Saturday, 16 December 2017

Aktuálně.cz: Liglass sponsored party close to Zeman

ČTK |
5 October 2017

Prague, Oct 4 (CTK) - The Czech company Liglass Trading CZ donated 200,000 crowns to the Party of Citizens' Rights (SPO), whose honorary chairman is President Milos Zeman and whose former leader was Vratislav Mynar, head of Zeman's office, the news site Aktualne.cz wrote on Wednesday, adding that both men later lobbied for the company to obtain a deal in Kyrgyzstan.

The server has found out from SPO's annual report that the party received the money from Liglass last year.

Zeman and Mynar aided Liglass in obtaining a 12-billion-crown hydro power plant deal in Kyrgyzstan by recommending the company to Kyrgyzstan's political representation, in spite of the company lacking substantial experience in the field, the server writes.

Zeman recently told journalists he had lobbied for dozens of Czech companies during his office based on the recommendations of the Industry and Trade Ministry.

Shortly after the deal was agreed on between Liglass representatives and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, the Czech daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) found out that the company was seated in a run-down facility and had false partner references on its website.

Aktualne.cz writes that Liglass employed two people in 2016, while it completed orders worth only 612,000 crowns and reported a loss of nearly one million crowns at the end of the year.

Jan Veleba, the current SPO's chairman, was surprised by the information about the donation by Liglass, saying he was not aware of it, the server writes, while the Liglass owner refused to comment on the donation to the SPO.

The Kyrgyz government eventually withdrew from the contract with Liglass as the company reportedly did not observe the terms of the agreement. Liglass director Michael Smelik said the company was ready to launch an international arbitration with Kyrgyzstan over the deal.

The SPO is not represented in the Chamber of Deputies, but it has two senators. The party was established in 2009 and was chaired shortly by Zeman, who resigned on the post after the party did not win seats in the 2010 general election, only to become its honorary chairman in 2013. Many of Zeman's current coworkers are SPO members.

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