Czech billionaire Radovan Vítek is being sued for allegedly defrauding a
New York hedge fund and a Czech investment firm of more than $1 billion,
Bloomberg news reports.
Kingstown Capital Management LP and Investhold Ltd. filed a lawsuit against the Czech real estate mogul in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, accusing him of engaging in a racketeering scheme spanning a decade.
They claim Vítek used a web of shell companies and “straw owners” to gain control of a Luxembourg-based real estate development company in which Kingstown Capital held a substantial interest.
He then sold the most valuable assets at “distressed prices” to entities he secretly controlled, the lawsuit alleges.
Vitek is worth about $2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His company CPI Property Group SA is also named in the suit, filed under the RICO racketeering act, as are J&T Banka, Milada Malá (Vítek’s mother), former Orco CEO Jean-Francois Ott.
Kingstown is owned by two Czech entrepreneurs: Marek Čmejla and Swiss citizen Jiří Diviš.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has signed into law new privacy protection
rules following up the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
and a series of some 40 related amendments.
The lower house of Parliament passed the rules again in mid-March, accepting the Senate's objections to sanctions that regions and municipalities would face for violations. These were deleted from the final version.
MPs originally wanted to lower the maximum fine for small municipalities to 15,000 crowns. In general, the Office for the Personal Data Protection (ÚOOÚ) can impose a fine of up to 10 million crowns for violating privacy protection rules.
The opposition Pirate Party has called on the European Commission to
release an audit of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's alleged conflict of
interest regarding EU subsidies to the holding Agrofert.
European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger is due to unveil preliminary results of the audit to the European budget control committee in a closed meeting.
Party chairman Ivan Bartoš said the Pirates have called on the EC to publish findings arising from an audit conducted at Czech ministries regarding EU subsidies for Agrofert amounting to some 2 billion crowns.
If Brussels does not do so, the opposition party will seek a debate in the lower house of Parliament next week on the affair and send an official request to the EC.
Babiš has placed Agrofert into a trust but Transparency International says he remains the beneficial owner.
Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková will step down, Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš announced on Wednesday, two days after Transport Minister Dan
Ťok announced his own departure.
Rumours of a cabinet shuffle that would see the pair replaced by mid-May had been circulating for weeks.
Ťok is being blamed for the state of the country’s permanently congested D1 highway. Nováková is under fire over an incident when a representative of Taiwan was forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the request of China’s ambassador.
Babiš said following a meeting with President Miloš Zeman that Ťok will be replaced by Vladimír Kremlík of the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs and Nováková by Karel Havlíček of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Craftsmen.
About a fifth of medical students, especially men, hope to leave the Czech
Republic for work after finishing their studies, a survey by the Health
Care Institute shows.
A third of those who would like to work abroad say they would go for a decade or more, according to the survey, presented at a press conference on Wednesday. Higher pay is the main motivating factor.
The Institute’s last such survey, taken in 2017, showed one in four medical students were looking to leave the country after graduation.
Charter 77 Foundation awards František Kriegel prize to activist David
Tišer, a co-founder of the Ara Art NGO supporting Roma art and the Roma
LGBT and Roma rights activist David Tišer has been awarded the František Kriegel prize recognizes civic courage by the Charter 77 Foundation.
Also awarded was Karel Karika, a municipal councilor of Roma origin from Ústí nad Labem, North Bohemia, who works with the homeless and people near the poverty line.
The František Kriegl Prize was founded in Stockholm in 1987 in the name of the one Czechoslovak government representative to refuse to sign the Moscow Protocol after the Soviet invasion of 1968.
Employers have dropped the idea of linking the minimum wage to the average
wage, Confederation of Industry Vice Chairman Jan Rafaj told the business
daily Hospodářské noviny.
He said no agreement could be reached with the Social Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government, and the labour unions, many of which believe they can negotiate a higher minimum wage without an automatic adjustment.
MP Ivan Bartoš, chairman of the Opposition Pirate Party, has called for a
debate to be held about what the Czech Army truly needs rather than
fixating on the country’s
Nato commitment to devote 2% of GDP to defence.
Earlier, fellow party MP Mikuláš Ferjenčík said on Facebook the spending target was nonsensical, the daily Právo reports.
The money now being allocated for new armoured fighting vehicles, he said, could keep the depleted pension account balanced until 2035, Ferjenčík said.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO said casting doubt on the country’s Nato commitments was irresponsible populism, and evidence of the Pirates being unfit to lead.