ony Pierce, who said: "Wow, if I'd have known there'd be guests I would have spruced up the place."

In this case, I'd have included more sources on this truly jaw-dropping tale of greed, corruption, political influence and deceit. But it's Friday afternoon and I'm lazy. Try Googling the following terms and you'll get more coverage: CME, "Ronald Lauder", CNTS, "Vladimir Zelezny" "CME vs. CNTS"


Posted by: Doug Arellanes at April 11, 2003 09:59 AM

It's not exactly that the Czech government has to pay the TV station (Nova). To oversimplify a bit, Nova had reneged on its agreement with its foreign investors, and an arbitrator ruled that the Czech government was liable for insufficiently protecting the investment, essentially for having enabled Nova to break its commitment. And so the government has to pay the outside investors because the station had not honored its deal.

BTW 10 billion Czech crowns equals approximately 350 million USD

Posted by: Z at April 11, 2003 01:26 PM

The story is long and convoluted, and please correct me if I get details wrong, but I'll try to sum up a 4-year story into a few grafs.

If I understand it correctly, an international arbitrator ruled that the Czech government did not protect a foreign investment due to badly written laws. In this case it was the law that only a Czech citizen could hold a broadcast license.

Nova's license holder was its director, Vladimir Zelezny, who had a falling out with his main investor, Estee Lauder heir Ronald Lauder. The way the deal was structured, Lauder's company, CNTS, was to supply Nova with its programs and sell its ads. Zelezny, on behalf of his company, CET 21, was the license holder.

When Lauder and Zelezny had their falling out, Nova was able to continue broadcasting because Zelezny simply replaced Lauder's supply company with another supplier - one controlled by himself. In doing so, he completely cut off Lauder and his company.

The unanimous ruling on behalf of the arbitration panel is available at the CNTS website: http://www.cetv-net.com/ne/articlefiles/439-Final_Award_Quantum.pdf

It makes for pretty interesting reading.

Posted by: Doug Arellanes at April 11, 2003 02:44 PM
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