Officers from the country’s National Centre for Combatting Organized
Crime have proposed filing criminal charges against a former employee of
the Czech Export Bank who is believed to be responsible for two suspect
loans afforded to companies between 2007 and 2010 which resulted in damages
to the tune of 1.5 billion crowns. If charged and convicted the man could
face up to eight years in jail for abuse of position.
The Czech Export Bank and its mother company, the Export Insurance Company EGAP are still dealing with the effects of big losses incurred between 2007 and 2011 due to a number of dubious contracts, some of which are still under investigation.
One of the most highly-publicized cases was a series of loans to the tune of hundreds of millions of crowns afforded to Chinese companies for which five former managers have been charged.
A recent conference on business and investment opportunities in Africa organized by the Czech Foreign Ministry, focused on innovative forms of investment and modern technologies. Titled “Creative, Innovative and Participative Africa” the event brought together ambassadors and business representatives, underlining Czech interest in establishing new partnerships and projects on the African continent. I spoke to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa about the opportunities opening up, the risks involved and what the Czech government is doing to help
A fundamental shake-up of two pillars of Czech state export support is
supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, according to the news
Under the plans the Czech Export Bank, which gives soft loans to help exports in risky countries, would become a daughter company of the state export insurer, EGAP.
The ministry is seeking a radical transformation at both institutions. The mooted transformation would have to be approved by the Czech National Bank and the government.
The state export insurance and guarantee provider, EGAP, has said it is relaxing what has been effectively a freeze on export help to Ukraine and Belarus. Help to all but the smallest projected stopped to Ukraine in February 2014 due to the conflict in the east of the country. Help to Belarus was curbed due to the economic situation and the poor payment record of local companies. That has improved, according to the Czech agency. Although export help will now be offered, the two countries are still regarded as high risk with an annual ceiling put on the amounts of credits and guarantees offered.
The government on Wednesday agreed to a cash injection of 2.5 billion crowns into the Czech Export Bank (ČEB), which helps Czech companies funds export projects in risky financial environments. Much of that sum will be aimed at covering losses from a Czech project to build a power station in Russia. The Czech Ministry of Finance has complained that losses by the bank since 2014 have climbed to around 18.4 billion crowns and have called for its shake up as well as that of the state export insurance agency. Some of the ČEB support has been investigated by the police.
The State Attorney’s Office in Prague has filed charges against six people in connection with serious irregularities at the Czech Export Bank. The case pertains to ill-advised and risky loans granted for projects in China and Tunisia in violation of banking regulations. Among those charged are former members of the bank’s executive board. According to the police the damage to the state was over half a billion crowns.