Zeman Cuts New Deal With Chinese Investors After Aide Jailed

Andrej Babiš, China, Czech Corruption, Czech Rule Of Law, Miloš Zeman

Prague, April 19 (CTK) – Representatives of Chinese companies CITIC Group and CEFC Europe have signed a minding memorandum on setting up a joint venture, with CEFC Europe having 51 percent and CITIC completing all of CEFC Europe’s projects in the Czech Republic, Czech Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar told CTK today.


CITIC Group also plans to start new projects in the Czech Republic, Mynar said.


President Milos Zeman received a delegation of nine high-ranking managers of CITIC, CITIC Bank and Sinobod on Wednesday afternoon. The talks were also attended by Chinese Ambassador to Prague Ma Keqing.


According to Mynar, the delegation composition shows that the Chinese take investments in the Czech Republic seriously and consider them a priority.


“CITIC stated that it has mapped up all of CEFC Europe projects in the Czech Republic,” Mynar said


“They (CITIC) will try to set up the joint venture as soon as possible, as the binding memorandum says,” Mynar said.


CITIC Group may enter CEFC’s projects within a few weeks and launch new projects within months, according to Mynar.


One of the projects that CITIC wants to continue is the creation of an industrial fund, as stipulated in an agreement signed between China Development Bank and the J&T group at the Czech-Chinese business forum in Prague two years ago. The fund, aimed at searching and supporting energy and industrial projects in the Czech Republic, is to contain EUR800m (about Kc20.3bn).


About two weeks ago, CITIC sent a delegation of its representatives to the Czech Republic to map up the situation regarding Chinese investments in the country. Based on their report, the current delegation has arrived.


Besides the talks at Prague Castle, the delegation is to meet representatives of J&T and Zdas companies, brewery Lobkowicz and soccer team Slavia.


The delegation would also like to hold talks with the Czech National Bank (CNB) regarding a rise of the Chinese share in J&T. Their agenda also incudes a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babis.


The fate of CEFC founder and Zeman’s adviser Ye Jianming, who is being investigated in China on suspicion of violating law, was not mentioned during the meeting with Zeman on Wednesday, Mynar said.


“It is an internal affair of China,” he added.


According to Mynar, there are several other Chinese companies that are interested in making investment in the Czech Republic.


“But CITIC is of priority for us,” he said.


Another Czech-Chinese business forum may take place in September, Mynar added.