Cabinet to discuss verdict under which state must pay US company huge amount

The government is to discuss the verdict of the arbitration case in which the Czech Republic has been ordered to pay the US-based company CME over 10 billion crowns, or around 350 million US dollars, for failing to protect CME's investment in the Nova television station. The Finance Ministry said on Saturday it was preparing a variety of possible reactions to the verdict, which it would put before the cabinet on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting has been coming under intense pressure for the way it has handled the TV Nova affair. The governing Social Democrats' deputies group has called for the council's dismissal.

In 1999 Czech media magnate Vladimir Zelezny, whose company owned Nova's broadcast licence, squeezed investor CME out of the station before relaunching it himself. Mr Zelezny, who was elected to the Senate last year, is being investigated by Czech police on a number of fraud charges.

Author: Ian Willoughby