Czech Republic ordered to pay ten billion crowns over TV Nova dispute

The Czech Republic has been ordered by an arbitration court to pay the US based-company CME over 10 billion crowns, or around 350 million US dollars, for failing to protect the company's investment in the Nova television station. The London court ruling follows a similar decision in the first phase of the legal battle over TV Nova. 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.

Meanwhile the governing Social Democrats' deputies group has called for the establishment of a committee of inquiry into the Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting's handling of the Nova affair and the activities of Mr Zelezny. Culture Minister Pavel Dostal has called for the council's dismissal.

Author: Ian Willoughby