Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek has called on the head of the state bank for promoting exports to immediately resign. Mládek said in news release Wednesday that the head of the Czech Export Bank, Jiří Klumpar, had overstepped his managerial competences. The minister added in a news release Wednesday that instead of getting to grips with problems at the bank, Klumpar had proposed that a new bank be created out of part of the existing institution without consulting anyone else about such a move. Mládek said he should resign before the bank’s supervisory board kicked him out. The export bank has been investigated by police in connected with suspect loans made in particular to Russian companies.
Police have charged three people from the Czech Export Bank in connection with the financing of a construction project in Tunisia, Lidové noviny reported Friday, citing the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague. The bank provided 331 million crowns in financing to a Tunisian investor, M.F.M., to develop hundreds of new luxury apartments in Tunisia, to be built by the Czech firm PSJ. The project stalled as a result of technical problems as well as changes under the Arab Spring. After it halted financing, the Czech Export Bank discovered it had none of the usual guarantees or collateral. According to Lidové noviny, PSJ is to trying to salvage the project.
The anti-corruption unit of the Czech police on Wednesday raided the Prague headquarters of the state-owned Czech Export Bank and the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation. The police have not disclosed any details of the operation; however, the news website idnes.cz reported the police were gathering evidence related to suspicious loans and guarantees for Czech firms exporting to Russia. A spokeswoman for the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation said the officers were interested in 15 older cases including the financing of a glass works in Russia. The police also raided the premises of the companies PSJ Jihlava and Sklostroj in Turnov later on Wednesday.