Czech company at centre of scandal in Kyrgyzstan

A scandal has broken out in Kyrgyzstan over the government’s decision to hand a multi-million dollar contract for an energy project to a Czech company that Kyrgyz diplomats deem highly unreliable. The said company was moreover recommended to Kyrgyzstan by President Zeman’s Chancellor Vratislav Mynář.

Liglass Trading headquarters in Líšný, photo: CTKLiglass Trading headquarters in Líšný, photo: CTK A veritable storm has broken out over an unknown Czech company –Liglass Trading - which managed to land a lucrative contract in Kyrgyzstan on the construction and operation of two hydro-electric plants as well as series of smaller electricity-generating projects.

The Kyrgyz news site 24.kg first drew attention to the case pointing out that the contract was signed against the recommendation of a number of Kyrgyz diplomats who warned that - contrary to the company’s claim - they had not been able to find any evidence that the firm had successfully completed similar projects in Slovakia, Italy or Great Britain. The news site published letters in which the Kyrgyz embassies in Austria and the Czech Republic warned against concluding an agreement with Liglass Trading noting that the Czech company lacked credibility, and that a sister company of the firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. Despite this the contract with Liglass was signed at a ceremony in the office of the government at which Kyrgyz President Atambajev himself was present.

The scandal is reverberating in the Czech Republic with the spotlight on the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, whom the Czech media have accused of damaging the country’s reputation. It is still not clear why Mynář recommended the virtually unknown and to all appearances dubious company, to the Kyrgyz government. Mynář himself says he sent a letter of recommendation merely in order to help a Czech company win a contract abroad. He claims he has no links to the company in question and was simply lobbying for a Czech firm.

Meanwhile Liglass Trading has also stressed it has no links to Prague Castle and insists it won the contract in fair competition. The company has promised to make a statement on the matter within days.