Tuesday, 16 October 2018

FinMin: Prague wants compensation for damage in MUS privatisation

ČTK |
2 January 2018

Prague/ Lausanne, Switzerland, Dec 29 (CTK) - The Czech Republic will seek compensation for the damage it suffered in the fraudulent privatisation of the MUS coal-mining company, the Finance Ministry said after the Swiss supreme court accepted a Czech appeal in the case on Friday.

Before, Swiss courts rejected the Czech participation as an aggrieved party for procedural reasons.

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland rejected the appeal filed by five former Czech managers in the MUS case, according to the press release that the court made public on Friday.

The supreme court also accepted the appeal of the Czech Republic that wanted to be participant in the court proceedings, but the federal court in Bellinzona rejected its request for procedural reasons.

The supreme court said on Friday the Czech Republic should have been enabled to take part in the proceedings as soon as it expressed its intention to gain to seized assets.

The court in Bellinzona should deal with the Czech Republic's requirements in another independent procedure, the supreme court ruled.

Besides, the supreme court recommended that a lower-level court examine the sentences of three of the convicts.

According to several verdicts of hundreds of pages, the supreme court upheld the decision by the federal court in Bellinzona from the autumn of 2013 about the seizure of money of the convicted MUS ex-managers.

Swiss investigators seized an equivalent of more than 13 billion crowns in their accounts.

The federal penal court in Bellinzona found Jiri Divis, Antonin Kolacek, Marek Cmejla, Petr Kraus and Oldrich Klimecky, guilty of fraud and money laundering in connection with the "wild" privatisation of the Czech MUS and sent them to prison from one year and four months to four years and four months in October 2013.

Kolacek is being medically treated outside the Czech Republic. He will return to it in the first half of January and will only comment on the verdict after he reads it.

Moreover, the court also decided not to release any sum from the frozen money as compensation either for the Czech Republic or for the Czech Coal Services, successor to MUS.

The Czech judiciary is also looking into the MUS case.

Attorneys from the Olomouc High State Attorney's Office levelled charges against six men in May on suspicion of illegal siphoning off money from MUS, formerly a state firm, and its subsequent fraudulent takeover. The sixth protagonist, former deputy industry and trade minister Robert Sykora, is suspected of bribe taking.

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