Saturday, 15 December 2018

Presidential office meets Chinese diplomat over CEFC head

ČTK |
2 March 2018

Prague/Beijing, March 1 (CTK) - The Czech Presidential Office on Thursday consulted Chinese Ambassador in Prague, Ma Keqing, on the alleged arrest of China's CEFC energy group board chairman Ye Jianming, who is President Milos Zeman's aide, over suspected economic crimes, the Tyden weekly writes on its website.

Ma did not confirm the arrest of Ye Jianming, Tyden.cz writes.

The news that Ye Jianming is investigated over economic crimes was brought by the Reuters news agency on Thursday. The Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post wrote that Ye was arrested on February 16 on an order issued by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The China Energy Company Limited (CEFC) focuses mainly on energy, finances and industry. The CEFC says it is the biggest private company in Shanghai and the seventh largest private firm in China that has nearly 30,000 employees all over the world.

In the Czech Republic where it has its European headquarters, the CEFC bought stakes in the Travel Service air liner, the Invia.cz online travel agency and J&T Finance Group, it controls the Pivovary Lobkowicz brewery group and the Zdas metallurgy and machinery company, is the majority owner of the Slavia Prague football club, the Mandarin Oriental Prague hotel and Le Palais Art Hotel Prague, and it bought the Florentinum administrative building in Prague.

The CEFC group was linked to suspected corruption in the past and world media speculated about the group's connection with the Chinese military intelligence.

Earlier this year, the Czech central bank rejected the purchase of further shares of the J&T Finance Group Slovak investment group seated in Prague due to the unclear origin of the Chinese finances. The CEFC, which wants to hold a majority stake J&T Finance Group appealed the decision.

Last year, Ye Jianming told Chinese magazine Caixin that the CEFC debts exceeded $9.5 billion and that it owed more than half of the sum to the China Development Bank.

The Chinese government has recently reinforced its control over big private groups in China.

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