Police revive MUS coal case

Swiss prompting has apparently encouraged Czech Police to restart a corruption probe over the sale of the Mostecká uhelná společnost

Skupina Czech Coal se na celkové produkci uhlí v ČR podílí téměř z jedné třetiny. | na serveru Lidovky.cz | aktuální zprávy Skupina Czech Coal se na celkové produkci uhlí v ČR podílí téměř z jedné třetiny. | foto: © ČTKČeská pozice
Skupina Czech Coal se na celkové produkci uhlí v ČR podílí téměř z jedné třetiny.

Czech Police have reopened an investigation into suspected corruption surrounding the sale of the state shareholding in brown coal mining company Mostecká uhelná společnost (MUS), according to Friday’s edition of Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD).

Officers from the anti-corruption squad have questioned former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Robert Sýkora, a close collaborator of former Social Democrat (ČSSD) Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, the paper reported.

The Czech initiative follows pressure from the Swiss general prosecutor’s office, which is looking into the local end of the 1999 sale of MUS shares and asked the Czech Police and judicial system for help with their investigations. This, it appears, prompted Czech Police to rethink their approach to the case and reopen investigations.

Swiss company Investenergy brought the state’s 46 percent stake in MUS in 1999. The company then sent $5 million to a Gibraltar account that an arms trader and lobbyist close to Gross, Pavel Musela, had access to, the paper said. Money was then distributed, allegedly to Sýkora and Gross adviser Jiří Martinek.

Sýkora contributed to Gross’ spectacular enrichment when he sold the ex-prime minister shares in energy trading company Moravia Energo for Kč 20 million. Gross soon after resold them for Kč 100 million.

The Czech Police and prosecution service looked into the dubious dealings surrounding MUS, which later became Czech Coal, for around a decade before closing the case in 2008.