Five Czechs stand trial in CHF 660 mln international money laundering case
The trial of five Czech citizens accused of money laundering, after acquiring Czech coal miner MUS, began in Switzerland, international media reported, on Monday May 13.
“Since 2005, the federal prosecutor seized more than CHF660 million (USD 691mln) in funds that allegedly passed through Swiss banks as part of a massive international money laundering operation,” Swiss news portal swissinfo wrote.
The Czech citizens, and one Belgian national, allegedly acquired nearly 100 per cent of Czech mining corporation Mostecka Uhelna Spolecnost (MUS). They subsequently set up offshore accounts to receive funds from manipulated stock acquisitions.
The Czech administration is not taking part in the case, although the Czech anti-corruption unit is running a parallel investigation. The Czech Republic could lose some CZK 8 bln as a result of not talking part in the official case.
President Milos Zeman was questioned with regards to the MUS privatization, which took place in 1999 when he held the Prime Ministerial seat. The former-PM maintains that the state did not lose out on the sale.
“The government was motivated for its decision by the Appian Group having offered the price that was 30 per cent higher than the price at the market,” Zeman told CT TV station, according to news portal Ceske noviny.
The trial is being held in Switzerland. A verdict may be pronounced on July 12.