CME’s topper loses suit against Czech Republic

Another case decision expected this fall

PRAGUE — Ronald Lauder, the chairman and founder of Central Europe Media Entertainment, lost his personal $500 million damages claim against the Czech Republic Tuesday for investment losses in Nova TV.

Lauder’s claim was based on a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and the Czech Republic. In August 1999, CME lost a power struggle over Nova TV when Vladimir Zelezny, license holder and general manager, severed a service agreement with the company.

The late evening decision by a three-man tribunal found that the country’s official regulatory body, the Czech TV Council, had done nothing to harm Lauder’s investments in the Czech Republic.

Reacting to the decision in London, Fred Klinkhammer, president and CEO of CME, said: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the arbitration tribunal in Mr. Lauder’s case. We remain very hopeful, though, of obtaining a favorable award in the arbitration brought by CME against the Czech Republic.”

A decision in that $500 million case, heard in Stockholm and based on similar arguments, is expected this fall. CME won an earlier arbitration hearing against Zelezny for $27 million, which Zelezny has yet to pay.

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