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CME appeals 4 rulings

Czech senator attempts to defend assets

PRAGUE — The tangled web of court cases between TV group Central European Media Enterprises and ousted Nova TV director Vladimir Zelezny goes on.

CME is appealing rulings in four court decisions in the Czech Republic that halt the seizure of Zelezny’s assets. Zelezny is appealing the $500,000 court costs he has been ordered to pay.

The cases go back to an international arbitration CME won two years ago after Zelezny severed ties with CME, the exclusive service provider for Nova TV, and relaunched it with Czech investors in 1999.

The tribunal ordered Zelezny to pay $27 million in compensation to CME. Pending payment of the debt, Czech courts froze Zelezny’s assets in three bank accounts, his wine company (which CME said was used to transfer money out of Nova TV) and his movable assets, including a collection of modern art.

Zelezny subsequently sold the station’s license to Czech investment group PPF, which paid his debt to CME in October, leaving just the costs outstanding.

The case is relatively minor in comparison with CME’s other lawsuits against Zelezny.

CME won a groundbreaking international arbitration judgment of $355 million against the Czech Republic in May, after it was ruled that the government should have protected CME’s investment in Nova. The international tribunal found the Broadcasting Council had conspired with Zelezny to defraud CME of its investment in Nova TV. The council was dismissed by the parliament.

CME has a still-unheard case in a Czech court that would oblige Nova TV to reinstate CME as its exclusive service provider, as well as a $5 million copyright dispute.

The Czech parliament, meanwhile, has appointed a 10-member panel to probe who was responsible for its loss in the $355 million case.

Zelezny, now a senator under investigation for fraud and tax evasion, was fired from Nova TV in early May.

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