Czech state misled EC, may have provided illegal support in coal miner OKD sale, Pirate MP says

12-02-2019

The Czech state likely provided illegal public support when selling its minority stake in coal miner OKD in 2004, the opposition Pirate Party says.

MP Lukáš Černohorský, head of a parliamentary commission investigating the OKD privatisation, said the state sent the European Commission false and misleading information about the sale.

OKD was sold to Karbon Invest for 4.1 billion crowns, less than half the market value, critics say. Later in 2004, RPG Industries, controlled by now billionaire Zdeněk Bakala, became majority owner of Karbon Invest.

According to Mr Černohorský, the EC relied on background documents submitted to it by then Ministry of Finance led by Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats) – and prepared by Mr. Bakala’s lawyer, Radek Pokorný.

At the same time, the EC dismissed a complaint by BYTYOKD.CZ, an association of tenants of flats linked to OKD.

Czech courts have acquitted all suspects, i.e. experts and former National Property Fund officials, of wrongdoing. But the verdict is not final, since the state attorney has appealed it.