Illustrative photo – Former manager of the Mostá coal company (MUS) Antonio Koláček in a picture from December 4, 2018.
Prague – The public prosecutor requests 7.5 years in prison, the forfeiture of all assets and a ban on the management of companies for the former manager of the Mostecká uhelná společnost (MUS) Antoni Koláček. For another manager, Oldřich Klimecký, he proposed a prison term of five to 7.5 years. He stated this today in his closing speech at the Prague Municipal Court. The indictment alleges that the managers of MUS controlled the company with their own money and that during its subsequent privatization they fraudulently caused damage to the state in the amount of several billion crowns. Today, the court completed extensive evidence in the case from the 1990s after more than four years since the start of the trial.
According to public prosecutor Radek Bartoš, Koláček and Klimecký committed fraud on the one hand, and the criminal offense of abuse of position in business relations on the other. “The defendants were bragging about how they saved the Mostecká coal company. (…) I do not consider these facts decisive for the assessment of the case. They were primarily concerned with their own enrichment,” he stated. He considers Koláčka to be the leader of criminal activity. However, he proposed a ban on activities in the statutory bodies of companies and confiscation of property for Klimecký as well.
Bartoš stated that the managers Koláček, Klimecký, Jiří Diviš, Marek Čmejla and Petr Kraus created a confusing structure of the companies in order to show that they owned or controlled the majority of MUS shares from May 1998 at the latest. After that, they allegedly waited until the share price fell, and bought his share from the state through the company Investenergy at a significantly lower price.
The sale of the state share in MUS to Investenergy was unanimously approved in July 1999 by the government of later President Miloš Zeman. According to the prosecutor, Investenergy paid for the share with money that came directly from the coal company from which the defendants had previously siphoned it. The managers deny that they concealed from the government that they would be the real purchaser of the shares and that they would pay for the stake with money from the mining company they secretly controlled. According to them, the state knew who it was selling to, or rather it didn't care because it wanted to get rid of the stake.
Former President Miloš Zeman and a number of former ministers of his government, including the current President of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský and ex-Prime Minister Vladimír Špidla, also appeared among the witnesses in the main trial. Zeman defended the sale of the state share in court. According to him, MUS was not a strategic company and the government was happy to get rid of the minority stake. Former Industry Minister Miroslav Grégr, who pushed for a direct sale of the state share instead of a competition, said he was unaware of the connection between Investenergy and the indicted managers. However, he admitted that it was no secret in the backroom that the MUS management was striving for exclusive ownership of the company. accused of bribing Pavel Musela with weapons, the prosecutor interrupted for health reasons. The indictment thus aimed at six people. However, the court gradually stopped the prosecution of Kraus, Čmejla and Diviš, because they began to serve the sentences imposed earlier in the Swiss branch of the case. Kraus went to prison in Switzerland, Čmejla and Diviš were eventually given terms and fines.
The last defendant in the case is the former Deputy Minister of Industry Robert Sýkora, for accepting a bribe. Today, the public prosecutor proposed for him a sentence of less than half the rate, which is five years, a fine of 4.5 million crowns and a ban on activities in the management of companies.