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March 25, 2018 7:51 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

President Zeman Seeks Further Chinese Investment

By ČTK Milos Zeman Ye Jianming Xi

Prague, March 24 (CTK) – A Czech-Chinese business forum may take place in the Czech Republic again at the end of the summer and significant Chinese firms should invest in the country, Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar has told CTK.

 

Mynar was negotiating with one of these firms during his recent trip to China where he followed President Milos Zeman’s order to look into the future of Chinese investments in the Czech Republic in connection with the investigation one of Zeman’s advisers, China Energy Company Limited (CEFC) board chairman Ye Jianming, Mynar said.

 

Ye Jianming was recently arrested in China on suspicion of a financial crime.

 

Mynar was accompanied in China by Zeman’s adviser Martin Nejedly and Jaroslav Tvrdik, deputy chairman of the CEFC Chinese group European division.

 

Mynar told CTK that during the talks in China he had been informed that “Ye Jianming was giving an explanation in the matter of a possible violation of Chinese laws.” “No one told us that he was detained or charged there,” he added.

 

Ye Jianming is to leave the CEFC’s helm and significant Chinese firm is to enter the CEFC Europe, so Chinese investments will continue, the Presidential Office said.

 

Mynar said their mission in China was not to find out the fate of Zeman’s adviser. “This is up to China and the president will never meddle in it,” he said.

 

The reason for their trip was to make sure that the case would not affect the CEFC Europe and its business with Czech firms.

 

“I am very glad that we could bring the information to the president that the failure of an individual have no influence on the legal entity CEFC Europe,” he stressed.

 

The Chinese consider the projects in the Czech Republic “essential to such a high extent” that some other firms want to join the operation of the CEFC Europe, Mynar said.

 

CITIC Group, owned by the Chinese state, which is one of the 200 world biggest companies, should enter CEFC Europe.

 

Mynar refused to confirm the firm’s name.

 

However, he said more “certainly very significant Chinese firms” were planning to enter the Czech Republic. “I had an opportunity to meet representatives of a certain company (in China),” he said, adding that the company would like to get acquainted with Czech projects.

 

He said he expected its representatives to go to the Czech Republic in the weeks to come to meet people behind joint Czech-Chinese projects. Another Czech-Chinese business forum may be held in August or September, based on their interest, he added.

 

Mynar challenged the criticism of the trip he took with Nejedly and Tvrdik to China and its funding.

 

Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) MP Marian Jurecka, for instance, asked the Presidential Office who had paid the journey.

 

Mynar reiterated that its aim was to find out the future of Chinese investments and not to check the investigation of Zeman’s adviser.

 

The continuation of Ye Jianming in the post of Zeman’s adviser will depend on the investigation results, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.

 

The CEFC group is running business mainly in the sectors of energy, finance and industry. Some time ago, it chose the Czech Republic as a centre for its European activities and bought stakes in several Czech companies. In 2015, Zeman appointed Ye Jianming as his special economic adviser.

 

CEFC Group (Europe) Company increased its capital by 13.5 billion to 14.65 billion crowns as of March 1.

 

In the Czech Republic, CEFC Europe bought stakes in companies such as air carrier Travel Service or travel agency Invia.cz. It controls brewery Pivovary Lobkowicz Group and engineering and metallurgy company Zdas Zdar nad Sazavou, and is a majority owner of the football club Slavia and Prague’s Eden stadium.

 

CEFC Europe manages assets exceeding 1.5 billion euros in the Czech Republic at present.

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