CME closes in on Zelezny

Authorities target art, home

PRAGUE — Central European television group CME has won two victories in its struggle to claim the $27.7 million awarded to it by an international court against Vladimir Zelezny, general director of Czech commercial web Nova TV.

Authorities seized four paintings owned by Zelezny on display in Austria at a Salzburg gallery last week. The paintings, valued at $500,000, will remain on display until October, then be auctioned.

Czech courts have also put an injunction on a $1.5 million Prague home owned by Zelezny’s former wife. CME has held that Zelezny transferred his property to his wife in a divorce settlement to avoid paying the debt.

The action comes after an arbitration court ruled in March that Zelezny must return the $27.7 million paid to him by CME in exchange for shares in their Czech service company. Zelezny launched his Nova TV after CME fired him for breaching the exclusive service agreement.

The Czech government has been under fire for the case, which fueled investor loss of confidence in the country. Both CME and its founder Ronald Lauder are awaiting the verdict of international arbitration cases against the Czech Republic for failing to protect the rights of foreign investors under a bilateral treaty between the country and the U.S.

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