Latest Nova suit aims to cut more CME ties

65 local lawsuits filed

PRAGUE — Chalk up yet another lawsuit in the ongoing ownership struggle for Nova TV.

Nova managing director Vladimir Zelezny, who has been engaged in an ongoing dispute with CME for control of the station, filed a suit Aug. 16 to terminate CME’s programming services.

Zelezny said the investment made by CME was unacceptable as a legal investment under the Czech commercial code, so Nova can legally terminate CME’s services.

Backing dispute

According to his lawyer, Zelezny claims that CME and its founder, U.S. cosmetics mogul Ronald Lauder, invested only CZK90 million ($2.5 million) in Nova TV.

CME counters that it spent $60 million in launching Nova TV and purchasing Zelezny’s shares. Zelezny relaunched Nova TV without the services of CME in August 1999 after CME dismissed Zelezny from the post of general manager, citing financial irregularities.

Ales Rozehnal, who represents both Zelezny and Nova TV, said 65 local lawsuits in the matter have been filed, in addition to two international arbitrations against the Czech Republic (one brought by CME, one by Lauder) and one against Zelezny.

A final judgment on the latter is expected in late September.

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