According to reports from Prague, a fourth set of legal proceedings over the scandal-plagued Unipetrol sell-off are likely after a Czech firm vowed to prosecute Poland's PKN Orlen for breach of contract.
Andrej Brabis is the owner of the Czech agricultural and bioproducts group Agrofert, and he has told the Mlada Fronta Dnes (MfD) newspaper that he is to take legal action against the Polish oil group after it failed to implement an agreement to sell five Unipetrol units to Agrofert.
Agrofert claims that contracts were signed with PKN in 2003 and 2004 whereby part of Unipetrol would be sold to Agrofert if PKN won the tender to buy the then newly-privatized Czech oil group.
We will require damages worth more than CZK20 billion for the breach of the contracts, Mr Babis told MfD. It will be one of the biggest arbitration cases in the history of the Czech Republic.
The Unipetrol privatization has been mired in controversy for some months as allegations of political interference in favor of PKN’s purchase continue to appear in the local media. The allegations center on the accusation that the Czech government sold the firm to PKN despite receiving several bids from other companies of higher value.
Since then, Czech television has apparently carried reports alleging financial favors were paid by a Polish political lobbyist to a leading Czech minister in an apparent attempt to influence the sale in PKN’s favor.