Police reopen case of EUR 55 mil nuclear waste repository

Marek Pokorný Marek Pokorný, Ivan Eckhardt
30. 6. 2014 14:44
Czech state energy company CEZ awarded in 2007 contract to build nuclear waste storage facility to recently established company with hidden owners
CEZ-operated nuclear power plant Temelin
CEZ-operated nuclear power plant Temelin | Foto: Reuters

Prague - Czech police have reopened the investigation of a CZK 1.5 billion (EUR 55 million) contract to build a nuclear waste storage facility awarded by Czech semi-state energy giant CEZ in 2007. The controversial deal was made when Martin Roman was the CEO.

Prague High State Prosecutor Lenka Bradacova confirmed to Aktualne.cz that the case has been reopened. She said that the investigation will take some time, because the police need to commission expert assessments and secure legal assistance from abroad.

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The only company to join the 2007 tender process was a Czech subsidiary of Slovakia's CEEI, which eventually won the contract, even though it had been established only a short time before and had anonymous owners.

The Czech anti-monopoly office eventually imposed a CZK 390,000 (EUR 14.2 million) fine against CEZ, arguing that CEEI should have been excluded from the tender. Police started to investigate the case, but reportedly found nothing illegal.

In October 2008, lobbyist Jiri Kovar, who previously served as Office of the Government director, became a senior manager at CEEI. He eventually filed a criminal complaint against two former CEEI officials, Martin Peter and Jakub Smolka, accusing them of having stolen almost CZK 100 million (EUR 3.6 million) from the company.

The Prague 7 district court acquitted the two defendants and, moreover, judge Jana Miklova implied that it was Kovar who had secured the CEZ contract for CEEI. “The theory that it was Kovar who, as a lobbyist, secured that contract for CEEI seems credible. It has been confirmed that he took part in all the important meetings as a gray eminence,” said Miklova in her verdict. According to the court, Kovar and Peter were the owners of CEEI when it won the contract.

The court's ruling prompted the police to reopen the case.

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