Zeman Meets CEFC’s New Chinese Investors

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

Prague, April 18 (CTK) – Managers of the CITIC Group Chinese state firm, accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to Prague Ma Keqing, talked with President Milos Zeman about the firm’s investment plans in the Czech Republic at Prague Castle today, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek has said.


CITIC Group board chairman Chang Zhenming also attended the meeting.


The firm is to become a shareholder of the CEFC Europe headed by Czech ex-minister Jaroslav Tvrdik.


The Chinese delegation will negotiate with Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Thursday, according to CTK sources.


The meeting between Zeman and the CITIC group representatives lasted about one hour.


The Presidential Office released photographs from the meeting, which showed some 15 people taking part in it, including Tvrdik, Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar and Zeman’s adviser Martin Nejedly.


Hospodarske noviny financial paper has reported that the CITIC Group managers have been negotiating with representatives of all firms in which CEFC gained a stake in the Czech Republic for several days.


The first information on the transfers between CEFC and CITIC Group emerged after reports about problems of CEFC board chairman Ye Jianming and one of Zeman’s advisers. He is investigated in China on suspicion of violating law. According to the CEFC press release, he will leave its management and share-holders’s structure.


Daily Lidove noviny reported today that the merger of both firms had not yet beet agreed on and that the completion of the whole transaction would probably last several months.


CITIC Group has 44 subsidiaries in China, Hong Kong, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It si running business in banking, real estate, energy industry, mechanical engineering and telecommunications.


Some time ago, CEFC chose the Czech Republic as a centre for its European activities and bought stakes in several Czech companies, such as air carrier Travel Service and 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.