Insolvency Administrator for Viktoriagruppe Demands Return of CZK1 Billion Diesel OilČTK
Prague, Dec 11 (CTK) – The insolvency administrator of bankrupt company Viktoriagruppe, Mirko Mollen, wants the Czech Republic to return diesel oil worth Kc1bn that was stored in Krailling, Germany, Administration of State Material Reserves (SSHR) head Pavel Svagr told CTK today.
The diesel oil has recently been brought back to the country by the SSHR with Mollen’s approval, Svagr said.
Mollen sent a final notice (before legal action) to the SSHR demanding that the Czech Republic acknowledge that the diesel oil belongs to Mollen as the administrator. He set a deadline for sending the diesel oil or its replacement for December 27.
“I can confirm we have received the final notice and will send an answer to the insolvency administrator within the set deadline,” Svagr said.
“However, I want to point out that the diesel oil in question is part of the emergency reserves, and in line with the law on the SSHR, it is exclusively owned by the Czech Republic. (Diesel oil) was duly paid for, which we can prove by the invoices,” Svagr said.
After Viktoriagruppe was declared insolvent in 2014 the Czech Republic had no access to the diesel oil stored in Bavaria for nearly two years. In July last year, the SSHR signed a contract with Krailling Oils Development, new owner of a warehouse in Krailling, based on which the diesel oil returned to the Czech Republic. Mollen, however, has never recognised the Czech ownership of the diesel oil.
Mollen has confirmed to CTK the efforts for the ownership rights to be clarified by court. No agreement on the ownership issue has been possible thus far and this course of action is thus unavoidable, he said.
According to the Czech procedural law, presenting the final notice to the Czech state is the first step. The state can issue a stance to it by the set deadline. This step has been taken.
When the deadline expires, a suit will be filed and then the court will clarify the situation. Of course, looking for a settlement out of court is still possible,” Molen said.
The transport to the Czech Republic started in mid-October last year. The transport costs reached Kc47-48m.
Mollen now claims that unless the SSHR returns the diesel oil to him, he is going to file an action to determine the title to the commodity, the SSHR said.
“I have not seen it anywhere on our account that the insolvency administrator would have sent the Kc1bn the Czech Republic paid for the diesel oil (to the account). If you pay, let’s say, a building company for a house it is going to build for you and then it claims it does not belong to you it should return the money to you. It cannot keep both. I do not know how it works in Germany but in the Czech Republic such behaviour is considered a fraud,” Svagr said.
According to CTK’s information, even if the insolvency administrator won a potential dispute, the Czech Republic would not transport the commodity back to Germany. It would only enable the German side to collect it in the storage facility of the state-run fuel distributor Cepro.
Mollen filed earlier a suit over fees the SSHR paid to Germany for storing the diesel oil because he saw them too low. “Such fees are paid only if the stored thing belongs to you. So the insolvency administrator is contradicting himself,” said Svagr.
In July 2016, Mollen acknowledged the SSHR’s claim to 6.3 million litres of diesel oil that disappeared from the store in Krailling.
The Czech Republic may have stored part of its diesel oil reserves in Germany under an amendment to the agreement on storing of specific reserves of 2004. The amendment was signed by the SSHR in 2010.